College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Group Training to Increase Social Behaviors in Young Multihandicapped Children

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

10-1988

Keywords

Behavior Therapy Methods, Blindness, Child, Disabled Persons, Special Education, Follow-Up Studies, Interpersonal Relations, Social Behavior

Publication Title

Behavior Modification

ISSN

0145-4455

Volume

12

Issue/No.

4

Abstract

The utility of a group social skills intervention for increasing social behaviors in blind, multihandicapped children was examined in a multiple-baseline analysis. Five multihandicapped elementary school-age boys attending a residential school for the blind were trained to initiate social interactions, respond to initiations by others, and maintain social interactions during social skills lessons that were incorporated into the ongoing classroom curriculum. Assessment of multihandicapped subjects in free-play settings consistently showed higher rates of social, and lower rates of isolate and inappropriate, behaviors with training. These levels more closely approximated levels displayed by nonhandicapped peers in similar situations. Evaluation of generalization to free-play situations with nonhandicapped children, however, revealed limited change in social interaction between handicapped and nonhandicapped participants. A six-month follow-up indicated greater skill maintenance in the presence of trained peers than with untrained multihandicapped children. Results are discussed in terms of (a) the need to develop more cost-efficient skills training procedures that incorporate strategies to promote social behavior change across settings and peer groups; (b) the heuristic value of including untrained handicapped and nonhandicapped peers in social skills assessment settings; and (c) the potential for positive collateral effects with skills training approaches.

DOI

10.1177/01454455880124002