4. Supporting the development of communications kills in autistic children

Jean Underwood

Abstract


Communication is a core problem for individuals on the autistic spectrum, particularly in social contexts. Here we investigated the effectiveness of a computer-basedintervention, Bubble Dialogue, in stimulating communication skills in autistic children.Four high functioning autistic children (target group) and four peer mentors were identified. The target children were 8 to 11 years and there were three males and one female. The peer mentors operated the intervention strategy, which tookplace over a six-week period. The methodology was a traditional pre-test/intervention/post-test study using independent measures of communication skills and alsoof Theory of Mind.Across the autistic group there was evidence of heightened interaction as indicated by longer dialogues, increased turn taking and number of comments, which reflect a more active role by the autistic children in the post as compared to the pretest communication task. There was a positive trend in the autistic children’s development of Theory of Mind skills.These results suggest that Bubble Dialogue may prove to be a viable intervention strategy to aid the acquisition of communication skills in autistic children.