Date of Award
Psychology, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Receptive language level
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This study evaluated the effectiveness of Social Stories™ for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), by beginning to address three serious methodological shortcomings in previous studies: (1) not using experimental research designs, (2) not isolating Social Stories™ as the sole independent variable, and (3) not following Gray's guidelines for writing and presenting Social Stories™. This study also examined the minimum receptive language level required to benefit from Social Stories™. Fifteen boys with ASD, between the ages of 27 and 92 months, participated. Participants were divided into 4 groups based on their receptive language levels on the Mullen Scales of Early Learning. The mean receptive language levels for Groups 1 to 4 were 13.75,24.00, 31.50, and 45.25 months, respectively. A multiple baseline design was used for each group. Lead therapists were 13 mothers, 1 father, and 1 teacher. Data were analyzed using visual inspection. Three of the 4 participants in Group 4 demonstrated immediate, notable downward shifts in level in their respective, challenging target behaviours following intervention. By contrast, only 1 or 2 of the participants in Groups 1 to 3 demonstrated changes in their respective target behaviours following intervention. Thus, the changes in these groups could not be reliably attributed to the Social Stories™. The results provide support for the use of Social Stories™ to decrease challenging behaviours in most children with receptive language at or above the 37-month level, plus or minus a few months. The results also suggest that children's receptive language is a reasonably good predictor of whether or not they will benefit from this intervention. Social validity of Social Stories™ was assessed using a modified version of the Treatment Evaluation Inventory Short Form. Most lead therapists considered Social Stories™ to be acceptable and effective, even for children who did not show behaviour change. Furthermore, child participants seemed to like this treatment. Recommendations are provided for parents, clinicians, and researchers.
Scapinello, Samantha S., "Effectiveness of Social Stories™ for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders" (2009). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 8096.