The National Center for Evidence-Based Practice
in Communication Disorders
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Social Communication Disorders in School-Age Children
Service Delivery




External Scientific Evidence

Evidence-Based Practice Guidelines
No evidence-based practice guidelines were found.

Evidence-Based Systematic Reviews
Social Story Interventions for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Meta-Analysis
Kokina, A., & Kern, L. (2010).
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 40(7), 812-826.
Added: October 2012

This is a meta-analysis of single-subject research that investigated the use of Social Stories™ and the impact of a set of moderator variables on intervention outcomes, including social  and communication skills, in participants with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). 

Since studies that used several Social Stories™ per child yielded higher effects on targeted behaviors, it is "possible that higher treatment intensity is associated with improved participant outcomes" (p. 823).

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Peer Interactions of Students with Intellectual Disabilities and/or Autism: A Map of the Intervention Literature
Carter, E. W., Sisco, L. G., et al. (2010).
Research & Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 35(3/4), 63-79.
Added: October 2012

This is a review of intervention-based investigations using group (i.e., experimental or quasi-experimental) and single-case design studies that provide "a comprehensive map of interventions focused on promoting social interaction among students with [intellectual disability] ID and/or [autism spectrum disorder] ASD and their peers without disabilities" (p. 64).  Student-focused (e.g., AAC use, cognitive-behavioral-ecological social skills training), peer-focused practices (e.g., assigning roles, peer awareness training), and support-focused practices (e.g., direct adult facilitation) were addressed.

"Early efforts to promote peer interaction and friendships are certainly important; however, there currently is limited evidence that the short-term interventions identified in this review yield long-term durable changes in the social relationships of children with disabilities" (p. 73).

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A Meta-Analysis of Classroom-Wide Interventions to Build Social Skills: Do They Work?
January, A. M., Casey, R. J., et al. (2011).
School Psychology Review, 40(2), 242-256.
Added: October 2012

This is a meta-analysis of empirical control or comparison group studies that investigated the effectiveness of classroom-wide interventions designed to improve social skills of school-age children.


  • "The longer the duration of the intervention, the greater the opportunity students have to practice and maintain their social skills changes" (p. 251).

  • "Social skills interventions should not be administered just once but rather given repeated exposure" (p. 253).

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Clinical Expertise/Expert Opinion

Consensus Guidelines
National Research Council; National Academy of Sciences; U.S. Department of Education

Educating Children with Autism
Lord, C., & McGee, J. P., eds. (2001).
Washington (DC): National Academy Press, National Research Council: Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences, 323 pages.
Added: October 2012

This guideline provides recommendations for assessment and treatment of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). This report also addresses the needs of families of these children. The target audience of this guideline is professionals involved in the diagnosis and management of children with ASD, including speech-language pathologists. A detailed review precedes the recommendations, which describes the current evidence base for specific treatment approaches.

"Social [skills] instruction should be delivered throughout the day in various settings, using specific activities and interventions planned to meet age-appropriate, individualized social goals" (p. 221).

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Client/Patient/Caregiver Perspectives

No information was found pertaining to client/patient/caregiver perspectives.

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