SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT OF CHILDREN OF PRIMARY SCHOOL AGE WITH AUTISM RELYING ON EVIDENCE BASED PRACTICE
The article focuses on the approaches and methods of social sphere development in primary school children with autism. The study is relevant given that the persistent deficit of social communication and social interaction is one of the most important functional limitations of these children. At the same time, there are no traditions of purposeful and consistent influence on the social development of children of both preschool and primary school age in Ukraine. This issue is particularly acute in inclusive education, where tolerance, mutual respect and mutual support should become core characteristics of the general atmosphere in class. Unfortunately, Ukrainian educators are not sufficiently aware of those methods that in other countries are recognized and scientifically proven to be effective in influencing the social development of children with autism. The current study involved 48 primary school children with autism. They were assessed with the Social Skills Checklist (University of Washington) modified by us for the study. The study revealed the low level of social skills development among primary school children with autism. Thus, an intervention program built on such evidence-based methods as “Visual Supports”, “Peer-Based Instruction and Intervention” and “Social Narratives”, as well as resources of “Classroom Management” technology was designed. The obtained results showed statistically significant differences in Social Skills Checklist indicators before and after the intervention program. It was found that largest increase was obtained across such domains as “Behavior at the Beginning of a Game”, “Transitional Game Activity” and “Understanding of Emotions”. The conditions for positive changes in emotional self-management development, as well as interaction skills development in children with autism are determined in the study. Among these conditions: more coordinated cooperation of the members of IEP teams; longer time for intervention; taking into account the additional needs of certain students with ASD, which provides for the use of additional methods with evidence based practice.
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