Frankel F., Whitham C. Mar 2011
Fred Frankel’s research article “Parent-assisted group treatment for friendship problems of children with autism spectrum disorders" focuses on effective social etiquette skills treatment which engages the parent in an active treatment role. Children with autism spectrum disorders who are placed in regular education classrooms report poorer quality of friendships.
Goal: Determine whether Children's Friendship Training (CFT) through parent support and peer play-dates improves social skills in autistic children.
Participants: 35 participants in the treatment group, 35 participants in the control group. The treatment group was treated with CFT, while the control group was a delayed treatment control (DTC).
Intervention topics covered:
Session 1: Group Rules training Session 2: Two-way conversational skills Session 3: Joining group play activities Session 4: Rejection coaching Session 5: Praise, persuasion, and negotiation Session 6: Entry into a group of younger children Session 7: Hosting Session 8: Teasing Session 9: Competition Session 10: Being a good winner Session 11: Dealing with bullies Session 12: Post-treatment assessments
Parent outpatient treatment consisted of parent-organized play dates, promoting friendship at school and at home, and an easy transition to community treatment settings.
Joint Engagement [F(3,26) = 15.84, p < .001]: Hosted play dates showed the largest improvements (partial R^2 = .43, p < .001). Parent-reported social skills showed the next largest improvement (partial R^2 = .12, p < .025).
PRES [F(1,28) = 8.22, p < .01; R^2 = .23]: Hosted play dates were the only area showing improvements.
Frankel’s article shows that Children Friendship Training with Parent-mediated intervention is a promising solution in helping children with autism spectrum disorders with peer acceptance and loneliness issues.
One limitation of the study is that aggression and withdrawal did not significantly change in the school setting.