Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Effectiveness of Siblings-Delivered iPad Game Activities in Teaching Social Interaction Skills to Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Effectiveness of Siblings-Delivered iPad Game Activities in Teaching Social Interaction Skills to Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Article excerpt

In recent years, the inclusion policy has been one of the most preferred education arrangements for children with developmental disabilities. Because of this reason it has been seen that the children with ASD who are among the children with developmental disabilities have been placed in general education environments more frequently (Allen & Cowdery, 2005). However, it has been observed that children with ASD have less social competence in peer relationships compared to other groups with disabilities (Barton & Pavilianis, 2012).

Social communication skills are one of the prerequisite skills for individuals to be able to communicate with others around them. Typically developing children learn social interaction skills during infancy and early childhood. They learn these skills from events that happen naturally at school, home, and in social environments. Typically developing children take the opportunity to develop these skills during these events by responding to the adults and peers around them, making attempts at communication, and getting feedback based on these attempts (Tent, Kasier, & Wolery, 2005). However, as children with ASD have limited abilities for initiating communication, responding, or continuing communication started by other people, they may not evaluate these opportunities as properly as typically developing children. Therefore, it is critically important to increase the quality and quantity of interaction opportunities that children with ASD can practice with the adults and peers around them. Interventions have focused on the natural environments where generalization and maintenance of the social interactions a child with ASD has can best be observed, also focusing on the family and peers with whom the child with ASD spends more time (Rogers, 2000). Studies have shown that families (Drew et al., 2002) and peers (Pierce & Schreibman, 1995) have learned how to successfully deliver these intervention strategies which, after practice, have developed the social interaction skills of children with ASD. Peer-mediated intervention has many benefits for children with ASD. In the literature, there have been a number of studies about peer-mediated interventions both for children with ASD and their typically developing peers that have resulted with positive outcomes (Chan et al., 2009; Kohler, G re teman, Rascke, & Highnam, 2007).

In enabling children with ASD to have peer-mediated social skills, a special type of peer intervention, the training of siblings, is among the practices suggested. However, siblings have been intervention agents in only a few studies (Walton & Ingersoll, 2012). One of the main findings of many studies examining the quality of life for families of children with ASD has revealed that the social bonds between children with ASD and their siblings are inadequate (Ferraioli, & Harris, 2011; Walton, & Ingersoll, 2012). Children with ASD communicate less with their typically developing siblings. One of the main reasons for this is because of the fact that children with ASD prefer to spend the vast majority of their time alone. Concordantly, the responsibilities of typically developing siblings of children with ASD are twice as great compared to their peers. These responsibilities can be listed as helping their siblings with ASD, planning and managing their life, and assuming the role of caretaker when necessary (Stoneman, Brody, Davis, & Crapps, 1989). Typically developing children who assume the role of caretaker and act in an overprotective manner towards their siblings with ASD bring some limitations on the development of children with ASD. However, children with ASD experience the first rehearsal of peer interactions with their siblings. Moreover, siblings are the most appropriate peer models for children with ASD. When siblings of children with ASD are offered appropriate educational support, not only will children with ASD benefit significantly from this process, but also the responsibility of parents will decline considerably (Oppenheim-Leaf, Leaf, Dozier, Sheldon, & Sherman, 2012). …

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