Social skills interventions by acaciur


									Adrian Caciur
 Nov. 11th 2010
   Social skills definition
   Causes of social skill deficits
   Why do we need social skills intervention?
   Social functioning assessment
   Common social skills difficulties associated with ASD
   Differentiating between skill acquisition and performance
   Setting stage for intervention
   Strategies that promote skills acquisition
   Strategies that promote skills performance
   Evaluating and monitoring progress
   Working in partnership with teachers and parents
 “Socially acceptable learned behaviors that enable a person
  to interact with others in ways that elicit positive responses
  and assist the person in avoiding negative responses
  (Elliot, Racine, & Busse 1995, p.1009)”

“Bad” definitions:
- Social skills can be defined as the set of skills people use to
  interact and communicate with one another.
- Social skills are the skills that enable a person to interact and
  communicate with others in a meaningful way. Social skills are
  closely allied to Emotional Intelligence (EI)- a kind of
  intelligence or skill that involves the ability to perceive, assess
  and positively influence one's own and other people's emotions.
  In order to interact effectively with others, one has to be able to
  monitor and control one's own emotional state.
- First definition puts emphasis on “learned behaviors”
- The difference between neurotypical children acquire these
  skills by modeling, trial and error, and experience.
- Children with ASD need to be taught these skills explicitly

Although social skill deficits are central feature of ASD few
  children receive adequate social skills programming
  (Humme, Bellini, & Pratt, 2005)
Causes of social skills deficits
- External Locus of control
- Mind blindness
- Limited areas of interests
- Difficulty adjusting to new environments and new rules
- Limited communication capabilities
- Strong need for consistent routine
- Difficulty with generalization of new learned skills
- Difficulties understanding connection between behavior and resulting
Environmental causes:
- Low socioeconomic income (Boyle & Offor, 1990)
- Large family size (Rutter et al, 1975)
- Urban residence (Boyle and Offord, 1990)
- Single parent home (Boyle and Offord, 1990)
Odds are also found in one or both parents suffering from emotional
  disturbance, parental depression, domestic violence, medical illness, etc.
According to Rutter (1987) to identify the specific risk is not as important
  as their cumulative effect in contributing to maladjustment.
Cumulative odds predict problem behaviors better than does any single
  variables (Sameroff & Seifer, 1983).
Academic causal model
Social skills deficits/behavior problems         Academic weakness

Social causal model
Social skills deficits/behavior problems         Academic weakness

Bidirectional model
Social skills deficits/behavior problems         Academic weakness

Common mediator model
Mediating variables                        Academic weakness
(e.g. language processing)

                                            Social skills deficits/behavior problems
Why do we need social skills
 Social skill deficits are common to a large area of disabilities such
    as: learning disabilities, ADHD, ASD, and MD
   They are critical to successful social, emotional, and cognitive
   Effective social skills allow us to elicit positive reactions and
    evaluations from peers as we perform socially approved
    behaviors (Ladd and Mize, 1983)
   This is especially troubling considering that the presence of
    social impairment may portend the development of more
    outcomes such as: social failure and peer rejection
   Social isolation is further linked to more severe forms of
    behavior such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and other
    forms of psychopathology (Bellini, 2004: La Greca & Lopez,
    1998, Tantam 2000)
More aggressive forms of behavior such as bullying tend to inflict a great toll on
In 1991 Olweus reports that 1 in 6 children were bullied on the playground.

“In 2009 in a recent study, 77% of the students said they had been bullied.
Cyber bullying statistics reveal similar numbers. And 14% of those who were
   bullied said they experienced severe (bad) reactions to the abuse.”
APA: How to stop bullies (2009). “Stop
Retrieved on November 5th , 2010 from:

- Students with disabilities need to be taught self advocacy skills
 Severe forms of behavior
Chronically aggressive tend to become adolescent and adult offenders with
  associated drug, alcohol, and mental health problems (Robins, 1983).
Tax payers money are used to provide expensive services, either therapeutic or
  criminal justice, for children with fully developed behavior and emotional
  problems .

In the United States, yearly incarceration exceeds $40,000 for each offender
   (Zigler, Taussing, and Black 1992)
In 2004 the costs for each inmate was $76,000/year in Michigan, $66,000 in
   Colorado, and $36,000 in Pensylvania.
More recent studies show this number has increased in the recent years
   (2008)up to $47,102 for California state

In 1990 “Various studies have suggested between 2 percent to 10 percent of
   the prison population has mental retardation. Denkowski & Denkowski
   (1985) found that about 2 percent of all inmates in either state or federal
   prisons have mental retardation (about 14,000 people).”
Social functioning assessment
General interview of social functioning/ecological inventory
-  Parent interview
-  Teacher interview
-  Child interview


-  Select objectives
-  Identify component skills necessary to reach objectives


 Functional behavior assessment
-   Defining behavior – establishing operational definition of behaviors
-   Identifying setting events, antecedents and consequences

-  Naturalistic observation (ABC observation)
-  Structured observation (Functional analysis)

Summary statement                    Behavior Intervention Plan            Implementation and monitoring

Common social skills difficulties
associated with ASD
 Difficulties making or keeping friends
 Difficulties joining an activity
 Easily taken advantage of
 Difficulties understanding non-verbal communication
  or/and abstract language
 Difficulties maintaining personal space
 Lacks tact or appears rude
 Has difficulties understanding emotions and facial
  expressions (mind blindness)
Setting stage for intervention
acquisition deficits vs. performance deficits
 It is imperative to determine if the skill deficits
  identified are the result of skill acquisition deficits or
  performance deficits (Elliot & Greshman, 1991)
 Skill acquisition deficit refers to the absence of a skill
  or behavior.
 Performance deficit refers to a skill or behavior that is
  present but not demonstrated or performed.
Strategies that promote skills
 Thoughts, feelings and interests (teaching facial
    expressions, if-then statements, interests inventory,
   Reciprocal interaction games
   Video modeling and video self modeling
   Social problem solving
   Interaction/conversation planning
   Task analysis
   Virtual reality training
Strategies that enhance
 Reinforcement/contingency strategies
 Gaming skills
 Environmental accommodations
 Increased social opportunities/live practice
 Disability awareness and peer support strategies
 Priming social behavior (cognitive priming, behavioral
 Selection of appropriate goals that are functional (taps
  into the motivational component)
Matching the political arena

Supporting Chicago’s bid to host the 2016 Olympics
Evaluating and monitoring progress
 Social performance should be measured at the
    beginning of the social skills program (base line) and
    at the end of the intervention with regular checks in
    between (ideally every month) in order to check for
    adequate progress
   Social performance may be monitored via:
-   Observation (naturalistic or structured)
-   Interviews (parent, teacher, student)
-   Standardized or nonstandardized rating scales of
    social behavior
Types of recording systems
Frequency recording – counting the number of times a behavior occurs
Duration recording – recording the length of time a behavior is
  performed from beginning to end.
Time sampling procedures
- whole time recording (a behavior is considered to have occurred only if
  it is performed through the entire period)
- Partial interval recording (behaviors are considered to have occurred if
  they are performed at any time during the interval)
- Momentary time sampling ()
Latency recording – the amount of time elapsed between a stimulus and
  a response
Social validity
 Social validity refers to the social significance of the
  treatment objectives, the social significance of the
  intervention results (Greshman & Lambros, 1998)
- Social validity is the equivalent of what we commonly know
  as consumer satisfaction
- Our consumers: parents, teachers and the child

- less likely to be implemented without social validity
- Social skills targeted during the intervention do not have
  real life equivalent and will be quickly extinct
Partnership with parents and other
professionals. Discussion
 There is little amount of research about how to work with your parents,
    teachers, speech therapists, occupational therapists, etc.
   Communication and systems of communication are common concepts
    and usually professionals have opportunities to meet and talk
   However, most of the time approach is very narrow and the students is
    progressing at a very slow rate
   There are a lot of factors involved in determining why the system is
    crippled :
-   Professionals relying too much on acquiring all the developmental
    levels before getting to a certain skill (children are getting locked in an
    unnecessary bubble of what is called “pre-requisite skills”); research
    shows that children with mental disabilities can be successful at
    acquiring meaningful skills without meeting all developmental levels
-   Professionals relying to heavily on a “bag of tricks”.
- Poorly conducted assessments
- Being reactive and not proactive (Not following the accommodations as
    listed in the IEP )
-   Decisions are not driven by data
-   Large caseloads – teachers cannot manage efficiently
-   Lack of administration support in implementing
    interventions/accomodations/BIP (Behavior Intervention Plan)
-   Administrators not knowledgeable or not willing enough to know what
    is going on in the special education classroom (as long as there are no

How to resolve these problems:
1. Parent involvement
2. Meaningful goals
3. Data driven decisions
4. Adequate training for staff working with this population
   Elliot, S.N. Racine, C.N.., & Busse, R.T. (1995) Best practices in preschool social skills taining
In A. Thomas & J Grimes (Eds.), Best practices in preschool psychology (3rd. Ed., pp. 1009-1020).
    Washington DC: NASP

Humme, K., Bellini, S., & Pratt , C. (2005) The usage and perceived outcomes of early intervention and
  early childhood programs for young children with autism spectrum disorder. Topics in early
  Childhood Special Education, 25(4), 195-207

Boyle, M.H., & Offord, D.R. (1990). Primary prevention of conduct disorder. Issues and prospects.
   American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 29, 227-233
Smaeroff, A.J., & Seiffer, R. (1983). Familial risk and child competence. Child development, 54, 1254-1268

Ladd, G.W., & Mize, J. (1983) A cognitive social learning model of social skill training. Psychology review,
   90, 127-157
APA: How to stop bullies (2009). “Stop bullying”
Retrieved on November 5th , 2010 from:

Tantam, D. (2000). Psychological disorder in adolescents and adults with Asperger syndrome. Autism , 4,
Zigler, E., Taussing, C., & Black, L. (1992) Early childhood intervention. A promising preventive for
    juvenile delinquency. American Psychology 47, 997-1006.

Denkowski, G.C., & Denkowski, K.M. (1985). The mentally retarded offender in the state prison system:
    Identification, prevalence, adjustment, and rehabilitation. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 12 (1), 53-70
Eliot, S., & Gresham, F. (1991). Social skills intervention guide. Circle pines, MN: American Guidance

Gresham. F.M., & Lambros, K.M. (1998). Behavioral and Functional assessment. In T.S. Watson & F.M.
   Gresham (Eds.), Handbook of child behavior therapy (pp. 3-22). New-York: Plenum Press.

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