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Archived News: In Research and Intervention
May 2014

Training Paraprofessionals Improves Socialization in Students with ASD

In a recent issue of the Journal for Autism and Developmental Disorders, Koegel, Kim, and Koegel (2014) found that paraprofessionals can implement social interventions successfully with training and follow-up support. Based on the current literature, the authors identified three interventions that were presented in a 1-hour workshop. The three interventions were appropriate proximity, cooperative arrangements, and the use of child preferred interests. The workshop included a PowerPoint presentation on how to implement each of the three interventions into the student with ASD’s social activities. Video modeling of correct and incorrect implementation by paraprofessionals was used. The workshop included activities to demonstrate a general understanding of each intervention. Feedback was given to each of the paraprofessionals during the workshop and during observations with fidelity checks. All three paraprofessionals made significant improvement directly after the training, achieving 80% fidelity or above. At the end of the study, the three target students improved in the amount of time engaged and rate of initiations with typically developing peers.

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Research Indicates Youngsters with Autism Show Motor Deficits

An April, 2014 article on Healthday News cites a recent study published by the journal Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly. The study, which assessed more than 150 children, found that children with autism were nearly a year behind their neurotypical peers in the development of fine motor skills. Further, they were about six months behind in the area of gross motor skills. These deficits affect the ability to perform activities like holding a spoon, running and jumping. These findings indicate the need for the inclusion of motor skills development in programs for children with autism.

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