Peer mediated intervention to improve social communication in young children with ASD
To date, no study has measured the effects of peer-mediated intervention (PMI) on autism symptoms in children under than four years of age. The current study examines the efficacy of the Stay, Play, Talk PMI (English, K., Shafer, K., Goldstein, H., & Kaczmerek, L., 1997) on the social communication skills of young children diagnosed with autism. The investigator paired three typically developing children (ages 3-5 years) each with a young child with autism (ages 3-4 years). These dyads played together during two to three, 20-minute weekly sessions for 6-8 weeks. A multiple baseline design across participants was implemented to measure the effectiveness of PMI on young children with autism's social initiations and responses characterized by non-coordinated gestures, gestures, and words. The investigator coded the frequency of each child's social initiations and responses to topics/conversations for each 20-minute play sessions. All three children with autism demonstrated increased social responses, though initiations remained variable. Typical peer buddies demonstrated increases in social initiations and responses. Results of this study support the usefulness of this intervention to improve social communication of young children with autism and contribute to limited knowledge of effective early social communication interventions for young children with autism.