Factors Affecting Adult Talk in the Inclusive Classroom and the Socially Competent Behavior of Preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorder Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
  • Irvin, Dwight W.
    • Affiliation: School of Education
  • Difficulty with social competence is a core deficit of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Research on typically developing children suggests the amount of adult talk they are exposed to can positively affect their social competence. With growth in the number of children with ASD entering the inclusive preschool classroom, there is a need to understand how adult talk in this context influences their development of social competence. This study aimed to determine: (1) the types and amounts of adult talk children with ASD receive in the preschool classroom; (2) the relationship between child characteristics (i.e., autism severity, language, cognitive ability and behavior) as well as setting characteristics (i.e., adult-child ratio and activity area) and adult talk; and (3) the link between adult talk and the socially competent behavior displayed by children with ASD. The data for this study were drawn from a larger study comparing the efficacy of comprehensive treatment models serving preschool-aged children with ASD. Children (ages 3-5) with ASD who were enrolled in business-as-usual (BAU) (n= 23) or LEAP (n= 43) inclusive preschool classrooms made up the sample. Preschoolers were videotaped for roughly 30 minutes during normal center time activities. Videotapes were coded post-hoc by observers naive to the purposes of the study using adapted versions of two coding schemes: Kontos' (1999) Teacher Talk classification and the Code for Active Student Participation and Engagement-III. The results indicate that child (i.e., autism severity, cognitive ability) and setting (i.e., activity area) affected the types of talk children received. Further, preschoolers who received higher amounts of certain types of adult talk (e.g., supporting peer relations) had more concurrent displays of socially competent behavior. In examining children's social competence over time, it was found that higher amounts of supporting object play and positive social contacts talk positively affected certain indicators of children's social competence (e.g., social motivation), as reported by teachers. Alternatively, children who received large amounts of behavioral management talk at the beginning of the school year were perceived by teachers to have worsening social competence (e.g., social awareness) by the end of the year. Implications future research and practice are discussed.
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  • In Copyright
  • Boyd, Brian
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Graduation year
  • 2012

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