Notes on The Facilitation of Social-Emotional Understanding and Social Interaction in High-Functioning Autism: Intervention Outcomes (Emmett)

Work in Progress

This journal article focuses on a study in which behavioral intervention was used to facilitate social-emotional understanding and social interaction of 15 youth with high functioning autism.

“However, recently, more attention has been focused on the study of the unique social-emotional characteristics of children with autism who have normal intelligence” (Bauminger 283).

“Recent research identified difficulties in social initiation and in social-emotional understanding as the major problems of high-functioning children with autism, rather than social insensitivity or social disinterest” (Bauminger 283).

“On the one hand, they have a desire to be socially involved with their peers and express loneliness and depression in the absence of such relationships. On the other hand, they have poor friendships and do not know how to adequately interact with their peers due to limited social and emotional understanding and experiences” (Bauminger 283-284).

“Social cognition includes the child’s ability to spontaneously read and correctly interpret verbal and nonverbal social and emotional cues; the ability to recognize central and peripheral social and emotional information; the knowledge of different social behaviors and their consequences in diverse social tasks (e.g., how to initiate a conversation, how to negotiate needs, how to make group entry); and the ability to make an adequate attribution about another person’s mental state” (Bauminger 284).

“Emotion recognition is defined as the child’s ability to distinguish the various affective expressions in facial, gestural, and verbal displays, in oneself ad in others, and to understand their social-contextual meaning” (Bauminger 284).

“Another social cognition problem among high-functioning children with autism consists of their tendency to pay more attention to peripheral details, particularly physical characteristics involved in a social situation, rather then to the attribution of social meanings to social stimuli” (Bauminger 284).

“It remains unclear as to whether this problem stems form a lack of social understanding and knowledge related to social norms and conventions and/or from problems in information processing that requires taking the whole Gestalt into consideration rather than its particular elements” (Bauminger 284).

“However, it is clear that high-functioning children with autism need help both in understanding social norms and rules and in processing social information” (Bauminger 284).

“Intervention should thus focus on facilitating the child’s social understanding capabilities, teaching the ability to read social cures in different social situations; enhancing the capacity for making accurate social interpretations, and expanding the child’s repertoire of behavioral alternatives for different social tasks” (Bauminger 285).

“Consequently, intervention programs should establish two main goals: first, to broaden the child’s understanding of other children’s mental states’ and second, to mediate and directly guide the child in applying this knowledge to enhance reciprocity in daily social interactions” (Bauminger 285).

“Social interaction is defined as a reciprocal processing in which children effectively initiate and respond to social stimuli presented by their peers” (Bauminger 285).

“However, high-functioning children with autism spent equal time in high-level play and in solitary activities, whereas children with developmental delays preferred to be engaged in social activities rather than in solitary play or nonsocial activities” (Bauminger 285).

“Despite the fact that high-functioning children with autism reveal difficulties in the aforementioned areas of social competence, social cognition, and social interaction, interventions to date that aimed to facilitate the social competence of this population have been limited in several ways” (Bauminger 285).

“The present study examined the efficacy of an intervention program designed exclusively for high-functioning children with autism, which aimed to promote both children’s social cognition (including emotional understanding) and social interaction with peers” (Bauminger 286).

“As its conceptual framework, the current intervention adopted cognitive behavioral therapy. Based on this framework, social competence is perceived as a multidimensional concept, which assumes reciprocity between the ways an individual thinks, feels, and behaves in social situations” (Bauminger 286).

“This study aimed to explore whether high-functioning children with Autism would demonstrate improvements after treatment in: their ability to solve social problems, their emotional understanding, and their social interaction abilities with peers” (Bauminger 286).

“Children were included in the intervention based on four conditions. (1) They met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) criteria for autism. (2) They met the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) criteria for autism. (3) They had a verbal IQ of 69 or above. (4) Consent was obtained form their educational supervisors, school principals, classroom teachers, and parents for their participation in the program” (Bauminger 286).

“In line with the intervention objectives, two basic levels of assessment were executed in the current project. First, to assess changes in social cognition and emotional understanding, a problem solving measure and and emotion inventory were utilized, respectively. Second, to assess overt social functioning, observations of social interaction were used to assess changes in the child’s actual social behavior, and teacher reports on students’ social skills were employed. All of the measures were administered both before and immediately after the treatment” (Bauminger 287).

“The problem-solving measure (PSM) developed by Lochman and Lampron (1986) is a frequently used behavioral interview designed to examine both children’s problem solving skills and the cognitive reasoning behind their problem solving processes” (Bauminger 287).

“The present study examined the efficacy of an intervention program designed to enhance the social competence of high-funcitoning children with autism. The intervention adapted a multidimensional concept of social competence that emphasizes the child’s social cognitive capabilities (e.g., problem solving and emotional understanding) as well as ability to learn and practice specific social behaviors such as sharing or cooperating. In addition, the intervention followed an ecological concept in which the child’s close social agents (e.g., parents, teachers, and peers) play an active role in the intervention, working together on the enhancement of the child’s social competence” (Bauminger 293).

“Altogether, children demonstrated improvement in all three areas of intervention: social cognition/social problem solving, emotion understanding, and social interaction” (Bauminger 293).

“Children were included in the intervention based on four conditions. (1) They met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (

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