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Targeting Question-Asking Initiations through Video-Feedback to Improve Social Conversation in College Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Detar, Whitney James
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, Educational Psychology and Education, Special
Social Skills
Dissertations, Academic and Online resources
Ph.D.--University of California, Santa Barbara, 2013

Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) display a marked impairment in social interaction and often exhibit difficulty in maintaining social conversations with peers. These deficiencies can manifest in low levels of question-asking initiations and pragmatics in social conversation that persist throughout the developmental lifespan. Most of the research in this area has focused on children and adolescents with ASD, yet there is an increasing need to evaluate supports for a growing college population with ASD. Failure to address these social deficits can damage long-term outcomes for individuals with ASD. Given the long-term connection between social skills and positive outcomes, future research supporting social conversation development in the college population with ASD is warranted.

Social initiation, specifically question-asking, has been shown to be a pivotal behavior that can lead to collateral gains in other, untargeted behaviors and promote a more positive developmental trajectory for children. However, research is still needed assessing the immediate collateral effects of targeting question-asking initiations in adults. Video-modeling interventions have been increasingly evaluated and shown to be an effective technique in teaching social behaviors with children with ASD, yet there is an increasing need to evaluate these interventions with adolescents and adults with ASD. The purpose of this study is to assess whether or not young adults with ASD can increase their use of question-asking initiations in social conversation and measure possible immediate collateral gains in targeting the pivotal area of question-asking initiations in young adults with ASD.

Using a multiple-baseline across-participants research design, this study examines whether video feedback is successful in teaching question-asking initiations in social conversation for each of 3 college student participants with ASD and whether there are collateral gains in other conversational behaviors. The results indicate that the use of video feedback to target question-asking initiations led to (a) increases in the frequency of question-asking, (b) improvements in the participants' ability to maintain fluid conversation (i.e. absence of long, awkward pauses), (c) maintained interest and affect in the conversation, (d) improvements in overall ratings of pragmatics, (e) a decrease in perseveration during conversation, (f) an increase in the participants' perceived confidence in maintaining social conversation, and (g) generalized gains to peer conversational partners not involved in the intervention and typical, non-clinic, environments.

Physical Description:
1 online resource (118 pages)
UCSB electronic theses and dissertations
Catalog System Number:
Inc.icon only.dark In Copyright
Copyright Holder:
Whitney Detar
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