Alexandria Digital Research Library

Training Paraprofessionals to Improve Social Skills in Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Kim, Jung Sun Sunny
Degree Grantor:
University of California, Santa Barbara. Education
Degree Supervisor:
Robert L. Koegel
Place of Publication:
[Santa Barbara, Calif.]
University of California, Santa Barbara
Creation Date:
Issued Date:
Education, Special, Education, Educational Psychology, and Education, Health
Dissertations, Academic and Online resources
Ph.D.--University of California, Santa Barbara, 2014

The number of students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) requiring special education services in public schools have steadily increased over the last decade (Scull & Winkler, 2011; U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2013). In response, the employment of paraprofessionals in schools has increased in order to support these students (Blalock, 1991; Boomer, 1994; Frith & Lindsey, 1982; National Center for Education Statistics, 2007; Pickett, 1986). Although paraprofessionals often bear the responsibility to provide both academic and social support to students with ASD, they receive little to no training on how to successfully support these students (Giangreco, Edelman, Broer, & Doyle, 2001; Jones & Bender, 1993).

Providing social support to students with ASD becomes especially important when considering the risk factors associated with not receiving appropriate social intervention such as having fewer lasting peer relationships and spending less time in peer interactions compared to typically developing peers (Bauminger, & Shulman, 2003; Kasari, Rotheram-Fuller, Locke, & Gulsrud, 2012). A recent study by Koegel, Kim, and Koegel (2014) provide optimism that paraprofessionals can be trained to fidelity to implement an effective social intervention for students with ASD. Within the context of a multiple baseline across participants design, the present study assessed whether paraprofessionals could be trained to effectively implement social interventions for students with ASD.

Specifically, paraprofessionals were trained to stand in an appropriate proximity from the target student while providing cooperative arrangements and incorporating the preferred/specialized interests of students with ASD with typically developing peers into common playground games/activities. This present study also assessed whether training paraprofessionals in these three components would improve the social interactions between students with ASD and typically developing peers (i.e., social engagement and rate of verbal initiations). The results of this present study suggest that paraprofessionals can be trained to fidelity to implement social intervention for students with ASD. The results also suggest that when paraprofessionals are trained to implement social intervention for students with ASD, the level of engagement and rate of verbal initiations improves for these students.

The results are discussed in terms of their implications for using trained paraprofessionals to improve social skills for students with ASD in the school setting.

Physical Description:
1 online resource (134 pages)
UCSB electronic theses and dissertations
Catalog System Number:
Inc.icon only.dark In Copyright
Copyright Holder:
Jung Sun Kim
File Description
Access: Public access
Kim_ucsb_0035D_12206.pdf pdf (Portable Document Format)