Using Social StoriesTM to increase appropriate social interactions of students with autism spectrum disorder in inclusive settings
Doody, Kathy Ralabate
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The purpose of this study was to examine if the use of a digital Social StoryTM implemented via an iPod increased appropriate social interactions of students with autism spectrum disorder in inclusive settings. More specifically, did the use of a digital Social StoryTM increase both the non-verbal and verbal interactions towards typically-developing peers in a general educational setting? Of secondary interest to the principal researcher was whether educators viewed an electronic version of a Social StoryTM as socially valid. Three male students with autism, ranging in age from 7.5 to 9.10 years, participated in the study. The participants were observed for five minute, at intervals of ten seconds, using momentary time sampling, during indoor and outdoor recess. Appropriate social interactions were defined as seeking attention, initiating comments, initiating requests or contingent responses, either verbally or non-verbally. A multiple baseline across participant design was employed. Greater increases were noted in non-verbal appropriate social behavior than verbal. Although a functional relationship was not established, each participant demonstrated gains from baseline to intervention. Mean percentage of intervals of socially appropriate behavior increased from 1.2% in baseline to 57.9% in intervention. Four to six maintenance probes were conducted after the intervention ceased and all three participants demonstrated levels of appropriate social interaction higher than baseline. Additionally, educators rated social validity high. Implications for practitioners and researchers are discussed.