Academic journal article School Social Work Journal

Skillstreaming Children and Youth with High-Functioning Autism: A Guide for Teaching Prosocial Skills

Academic journal article School Social Work Journal

Skillstreaming Children and Youth with High-Functioning Autism: A Guide for Teaching Prosocial Skills

Article excerpt

Skillstreaming Children and Youth with High-Functioning Autism: A Guide for Teaching Prosocial Skills Ellen McGinnis and Richard L. Simpson Research Press, Champaign, IL, 2017 365 pages (paperback), $46.99, ISBN 978-0-87822-683-2

Reviewed by Jackie Duffy-Hook

Skillstreaming Children and Youth with High-Functioning Autism: A Guide for Teaching Prosocial Skills is written in the tradition of and in similar fashion to the original skillstreaming approach developed decades ago by Arnold P Goldstein. This newest edition written by McGinnis and Simpson offers specific social skill instruction for children and adolescents with high-functioning autism. Complex social behaviors from previous skillstreaming lessons are divided into separate but progressive skills needing development by the learner with autism. This current curriculum relates directly to this population's skill needs: "Relationship Skills, Social Comprehension, Self-Regulation, Problem Solving, Understanding Emotions, and School-Related Skills" (p. 5).

The guide includes a twenty-seven-page introduction explaining skillstreaming, high-functioning autism, new skills to be learned, program arrangements, learning procedures, session steps, and assessment. Each of eighty skill lessons is then outlined, followed by two homework reports per skill, so the text can be used as a curricular manual and workbook. A CD with all the necessary forms and handouts is included.

The authors cite research indicating that people with high-functioning autism who receive specific training in social skills and support for those skills "are better able to respond to social demands, interact with greater social ease, and become more resilient" (p. 1). School social workers may be familiar with the core skillstreaming learning procedures of modeling, role playing, feedback, and generalization. There are nine steps per session: (1) defining the skill, (2) modeling the skill, (3) establishing learner skill need, (4) selecting the first role player, (5) setting up the role play, (6) conducting the role play, (7) providing feedback, (8) selecting the next role player, and (9) assigning skill homework. The assessment tools give school social workers data-driven feedback when they are used before and after skillstreaming instruction.

The numerous strengths of this newest edition of the skillstreaming guide include its comprehensive but succinct introduction. …

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