Free Essay On Social Interaction And Classroom Inclusion
Impact of Increased Social Skills Lessons on the Interactions of an Autistic Student in an Inclusive Classroom
A Research Report Presented to the Graduate Program in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirementsfor the Degree of Masters in EducationConcordia University - Portland
Autism presents a mental challenge in children that make a person be in a state of self. This condition significantly impairs the ability of the child more so the ability to learn. Evidently, the condition primarily manifests with triad of characteristics affecting social interaction, social communication, and social imagination. Besides, the condition is characterized by some particular challenges that include difficulty in social initiations and a sense of isolation. Therefore teaching autistic students has proved to be hard especially in social relationships and interactions.
In attempt to maximize autistic student learning, social skills have shown to be of great help to these students especially in classroom interaction. As the number of autistic students in schools increase, the focus has been to increase social skill lessons to improve their interaction. However,the concern is if this lesson increase helps the students in classroom inclusion, and does elimination of triad symptoms of this disorder help student to interact better in class. This review shows the gaps in theliterature on the how social skills lessons affect interactions of an autistic student in an inclusive classroom.
Many studies attribute the autistic students to the three triadic characteristics that impair classroom inclusion. Reichow & Volkmar, (2010) and Williams White et al., (2007) describes social communication, social imagination and social interactions as main areas of impairment for students. The study argues that an autistic state affects students’ learning ability by affecting them in the mentioned three ways. In this context, it becomes clear that autistic students can hardly match other typical children. The implication of this situation is that the inclusion strategy should account for this unchallengeable fact. However, studies affirm that this rarely happens. Autistic children mainly have poor social skills and they led isolated lifestyles. Kamps et al., (1992) shows that autistic students depend on these three attributes for proficiency in academic and classroom interactions, but often fails to show the involvement in class work. It therefore, becomes arguable that increased social skills lessons enhance the interaction of the autistic students by only developing their social skills.
Social communication and classroom inclusion
Parsons & Mitchell, (2002) agree that, students with autistic disorder have fluency and clarity of speech, which means that they can comprehend their social situation. Despite this, they have a misconception about the use of this speech, thus fails to use it for social purposes. Besides, according to Denning, (2007) this lack of intent can be socially be changed to suit these students with autistic disorder. Separate studiesby Mitchell, Parsons, & Leonard, (2007); Reichow & Volkmar, (2010) and (Denning, 2007)agrees that, in learning, the condition has the potential of controlling the behavior of autistic students. Therefore, teaching them how to communicate to those other students enables them to interact favorably. However, these studies are too general. Most of the studies target learning at general, and none is unique to theclassroom. Whereas Parsons & Mitchell, (2002) tries to be specific to classroom and student interaction. Their study is more focused on the effectiveness of autistic student involvement than in classroom inclusion. Despite this, most studies agree that social communication deficits reduce the opportunity for inclusive in classroom learning. Denning (2007) found that students benefit when they are included in social skills especially in communication.
Self-management and classroom inclusion
The other area of focus in theliterature is self- management as askill towards learning in autistic students. According to Day (2011), Self-managementplays a crucial role in gearing these students towards participation in classroom. However, it is either associated with theexhibition of appropriate behaviors without which the learning of autistic students, shows little inclusion in theclassroom. Twenty studies carried out on autistic students about self-management show that seventeen of those students had proper self-management demonstrated a better ability to learn with others in the classroom situation compared to three who did not need self-management. Even though both Reichow & Volkmar, (2010) and Williams White et al., (2007) show that social communication skills, social initiations, and interaction skills improve when, the autistic students have better self- management; the association of the studies to classroom interaction has not been done. These studies have neither shown the specific impact of increasing the lessons nor what the autistic students will accrue in learning.
There are many methods advocated in social skills teaching. Studies by Williams, Keonig, & Scahill (2007) have found reinforcing of appropriate behaviors among theautistic students to be one of the most preferred methods. However, the impact of this in theclassroom set up is yet to be established. Besides, Reichow & Volkmar, (2010)argues that self-monitoring technique to be administered by the students them self they do not demonstrate how these will benefit the students learning. Finally, Reichow & Volkmar, (2010) and Williams White et al., (2007) disagree on the evaluation criteria of the impact of the self-management as a tool for social communication. According toReichow & Volkmar, (2010), the students themselves should do it whileWilliams White et al., (2007 argues why the teachers themselves should administer them. None of these shows the impact it will accrue to students if theteacher does evaluation or the impact of the teacher if the student does the evaluation. Furthermore, Reichow & Volkmar, (2010) and Williams White et al., (2007) agree that with time social interaction improves if the child learns self-management they do not associate it with student interaction and how it will be better if the lessons increase.
Social imagination and classroom inclusion
There are also a lot of literature o social imagination can improve classroom interaction. According to Kamps et al., (1992)social imagination is a key component of social interaction and studies by Denning, (2007) concur with this. According to Reichow & Volkmar, (2010) and Williams White et al., (2007)social skills that are focused to improve students thought of what they can do for each other by the teachers are likely to achieve better interaction intervention and thus increase social interaction in these students. These studies done on autistic students showed that twenty of twenty-five students who were equipped with appropriate social imagination thoughts were better in interaction compared to those without skills. However, these studies have shown alack of generalization thatDenning (2007) argues are short term interventions efforts. A study was done by Denning, (2007) on social instruction to autistic students agrees to this idea. In addition, it reports that students demonstrate theability of knowledge on how to utilize right social skills. However, this study did not also generalize beyond the intervention context.Besides, studies by Reichow & Volkmar, (2010) and Williams White et al., (2007)on teachers who encouraged on socialization skills in practice showed an improvement shown by students on the ability to start conversation and discussions among the students with autistic disorder. Since the connection withthe acquisition of these skills cannot be school, home or community, the aim should be the social skills should at the students.
In reality, many factors that hinder social skills teaching have been overlooked. In this respect, there still exists no definite knowledge of practical interventions for better results. However, it is worth acknowledging that some of the strategies proposed by various researchers are considerably effective. Denning, (2007) did a review on these approaches approving most of them. In addition, the study showed that most of the times nine of ten of the studies focus on the success of these methods. Despite the loopholes and gaps in various studies that have focused on this topic, findings and conclusions made by most of these studies are of high relevance and application. These studies, however, fail to focus on the negative effect on the students who fail to achieve these social skills. Similarly, these approaches overlook the financial impacts and the effect on teacher motivation. Therefore, this is a major setback in these studies, and these researches have been unable to answer some of the questions.
Analysis of the reviews
There are many gaps in research with most of the literature excluding either the whole issue of importance or classroom inclusion of the students. Furthermore, most of the researches in this field are too general to explain the real effect of social skills aspects in relation to autistic students. Improving learner’s social skills is widely advocated strategy and has proved to be helpful to autistic students; however, its effects need to be re-evaluated. Similarly, the impact of increasing these lessons should also be evaluated especially with the aim of explaining how they make the learning of these students better.
Day, A. S. (2011). Social Skills Intervention for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders : A Survey of School Psychologists. The Adjunct Clinical Associate, 23(June), 23– 46.
Denning, C. B. (2007). Social Skills Interventions for Students With Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism: Research Findings and Implications for Teachers. Beyond Behavior, 16, 16–23.
Kamps, D. M., Leonard, B. R., Vernon, S., Dugan, E. P., Delquadri, J. C., Gershon, B., Folk, L. (1992). Teaching social skills to students with autism to increase peer interactions in an integrated first-grade classroom.Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 25, 281–288. doi:10.1901/jaba.1992.25-281
Mitchell, P., Parsons, S., & Leonard, A. (2007). Using virtual environments for teaching social understanding to 6 adolescents with autistic spectrum disorders.Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37, 589–600. doi:10.1007/s10803-006-0189-8
Parsons, S., & Mitchell, P. (2002). The potential of virtual reality in social skills training for people with autistic spectrum disorders. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research : JIDR, 46, 430–443. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2788.2002.00425.x
Reichow, B., & Volkmar, F. R. (2010). Social skills interventions for individuals with autism: Evaluation of evidence-based practices within a best evidence synthesis framework. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. doi:10.1007/s10803-009-0842-0
Williams White, S., Keonig, K., & Scahill, L. (2007). Social skills development in children with autism spectrum disorders: A review of the intervention research.Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37, 1858–1868. doi:10.1007/s10803-006-0320-x
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