An Evaluation of Behavioral Skills Training and In Situ Training for Teaching Caregivers How to Support Social Skill Development in Their Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder
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Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often have social skill deficits and benefit from training that programs for skill generalization and maintenance, components that are often lacking in practice. Although caregivers are well suited to promote generalization and maintenance of child skills in the natural environment, which may lead to better outcomes, limited research has been conducted in this area. Therefore, evaluating which strategies are effective for training caregivers is highly warranted. The current research examined the efficacy of individual behavioral skills training (BST), group BST, and in situ training for teaching caregivers how to also use BST to support their child’s context-specific social skills. In Study 1, caregivers met mastery criteria within individual BST sessions, although their skills did not generalize to the natural environment even with the addition of a group-BST session. In Study 2, in situ training was introduced in place of a group-BST session and led to generalized caregiver skills. The results and implications of these studies are discussed.
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