Academic journal article Educational Research Quarterly

Increasing Social Interactions Using Prompts and Rewards for Adolescents with ASD in an Ice Hockey Practice Context

Academic journal article Educational Research Quarterly

Increasing Social Interactions Using Prompts and Rewards for Adolescents with ASD in an Ice Hockey Practice Context

Article excerpt

The prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has continued to rise. It has been reported that 1 out of 68 children have been diagnosed with the disorder (Baio, 2012; Center for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] 2014CDC). Though the cause of autism remains unknown, many factors have been speculated to have an impact (Kaufman & Silverman, 2010). Symptoms of autism include impairments in social communication and repetitive stereotyped patterns of behavior and thought (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 2013). Deficits in social communication are the essential feature of an autism diagnosis (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 2013). Communication delays often lead to socialization deficits; which is why early detection is critical (Hattier & Matson, 2012). Lack of spontaneous verbalizations can result in problems developing typical social relationships (Koegel, 2000). These deficits contribute to difficulties for persons with ASD to engage in activities with their typically developing peers.

Wide array of interventions have been used to teach new skills to individuals diagnosed with ASD (Koegel, MatosFreden, & Lang, 2012; Odom, Collet-Klingenberg, & Hatton, 2010). The use of consequences has received much attention in the peer-reviewed literature. For example, Thompson, McLaughlin, and Derby (2011) used differential reinforcement to decrease the inappropriate verbalizations of a child with autism. Also, the use of setting events or specific setting events has received wide attention. Prompting has also been suggested as an important strategy to teach students with ASD new skills. A wide arrange of prompts have been evaluated and these have ranged from hand over hand full physical guidance (Macduff, Krantz, &McClanahan, 1993) to direct verbal prompts (Odom & Strain, 1986).

Prompting has been the most widely implemented procedure to assist persons with autism (MacDuff, Krantz & McClanahan, 2001). McClanahan and Krantz (1999) defined prompts as, "instructions, gestures, demonstrations, touches, or other things that we arrange or do to increase the likelihood that children will make correct responses" (p.37). Teachers may employ verbal prompts to attempt to have the child point to his or her name when given the prompt "Where is your name?"

Tetreault and Lerman (2010) used video modeling and prompting to increase the social initiations of three kids with autism. Quirmbach, Lincoln, Feinberg-Gizzo, and Monica (2009) employed social stories used to teach appropriate behaviors to a classroom of students diagnosed with ASD while they played games. The use of prompting and reinforcement has also been shown to have an effect on shaping behavior. (Buffington, Krantz, Poulson, & McClannahan, 1998; Newman, & Eyck, 2005; Strain, Kerr, &Ragland, 1979). Many of these studies were conducted in the context of one-on-one setting or a small group environment.

Team sporting events can serve as an excellent context to teach social skills (Sharpe, Brown, & Crider, 1995). Also, team sports have been shown to result in positive outcomes for persons with developmental disabilities (Weiss, Diamond, Demark, & Lovald, 2003). Skills that have been taught to individuals with autism through physical activity include tennis, physical exercise, and swimming (Pan, 2011; Sowa, & Mculenbroek, 2012; Yanardag, Birkan, Yilmaz, Konukman, Agbuga, & Lieberman, 2011). Alexander, Drummer, Smeltzer, and Denton (2011) demonstrated that teaching social skills within the context of a soccer practice lead to increased social behaviors by persons with developmental disabilities. Alexander et al. combined classroom instruction with soccer activities to increase the social skills of four Special Olympics Participants. One participant was diagnosed with Autism. Their intervention was carried out across six phases: introduction, baseline, classroom instruction, soccer practice, parent supplemental activities and party. …

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