Video Modelling and Behaviour Analysis: A Guide for Teaching Social Skills to Children with Autism

By Christos Nikopoulos; Mickey Keenan | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1
Social Deficits in Autism
An Overview of Treatment Procedures

In the little world in which children have their existence, whosoever
brings them up, there is nothing so finely perceived and so finely felt,
as injustice.

Charles Dickens, Great Expectations (1861)


1.1 Introduction

Children with autism can be similar in many ways, displaying deficits in some areas of development and excesses in others (i.e. impairments of social interac– tion, communication and imagination). However, these behaviour character– istics can be different and unique for each child. Nonetheless, impaired social interaction is regarded as the hallmark feature of this disorder. Even during the first months of life, children with autism may not engage in simple social behaviours such as eye gaze, smiles or responses to parents' efforts at verbali– sation and play interaction (Koegel and Koegel 1999). They may exhibit little if any eye contact, lack interaction with other children, spend time alone rather than with others, display behaviour that can be aggressive or exhibit minimal initiation and play skills.

A variety of different treatment procedures have been designed, assessed and evaluated to address the needs of children with autism. The overall goal is to change their developmental trajectory to more closely approximate that of their typically developing peers (Baron-Cohen 2004; Green, Brennan and Fein 2002). Interestingly, the development of social initiations from a child's viewpoint has been repeatedly identified as a key pivotal behaviour. That is, independent of the academic competence level of these children, naïve observers will not judge them as being pragmatically able to cope in

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