Effects of naturalistic and peer mediated conversation skills training for young adults with ASD
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Purpose: This pilot study sought to examine the efficacy of a naturalistic and peer-supported group language and social skills intervention program called Training for Adults in Language and Other Key Skills (TALKS). This group therapy is offered at the University of Texas at Austin Speech and Hearing Center each semester. The researcher hypothesized that individuals participating in the program would present with increased production of total utterances and decreased productions of off-topic comments and questions during conversations. Methods: Two adult English-speaking males diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder participated in weekly 10-minute Skype conversations both before and during participation in the group therapy. Each 10-minute Skype conversation was recorded and coded to determine ratio of utterances, total comment and off-topic comment production, and total question and off-topic question production. Each Skype video was double coded to ensure accuracy of the data. Results: Participants presented with overall increases in total utterance production and ratio of total utterances across treatment phases. Data indicated a decrease in both off-topic comment and question production for both participants. Both participants performed consistently in their overall question production across all treatment phases. Conclusion: The Training for Adults in Language and Other Key Skills program had a positive effect on each of the participants' social language skills. Future research should include a larger number of participants and additional consecutive treatment phases.