Preschool Autism Program Enlists Classmates to Teach Social Skills
Strategy yields gains for all children
Being polite, taking turns, and demonstrating other appropriate behavior can be difficult for many preschoolers, but even more so for children with autistic spectrum disorders.
One fledgling early-childhood initiative is finding that getting classmates involved in assisting peers who have autism can help boost the social skills of all children in the classroom.
The Learning Experiences Alternative Program for Preschoolers and their Parents, or LEAP, immerses children with spectrum disorders into classes with typically developing children who have been trained in ways to communicate and work with their challenged peers. While the research underlying the program has evolved over 30 years, it has been gaining in popularity recently—roughly 100 preschools across the country now use it—in part thanks to positive results from a study that met the stringent criteria of the...
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