Peer Networks Intervention
Core Function: Research and Evaluation
The purpose of the Peer Networks Intervention (PNI) project is to investigate the effects of the PNI on social-communication, literacy, and adaptive behavior for young children with ASD in school settings. PNI staff are committed to the inclusion and success of children with ASD in school. However, the presenting challenges associated with behavioral and social development for children on the Autism spectrum interfere with developmental and academic progress, particularly at the point of school entry. Social competence with peers, literacy, and adaptive behavior in group settings are fundamental and pivotal skills that can be taught in school settings. Comprehensive interventions that address social, behavioral, and academic skills for children with ASD are necessary to determine evidence-based educational practices. This research focuses on how to teach and sustain generalized learning and social skills necessary for successful participation in peer-inclusive groups.
The intervention has two components (1) Peer Network groups using social skills lessons from developed curriculum, and (2) Peer Network groups using Reading Mastery curriculum taught in small groups along with peer tutoring dyads using Scholastic supplemental reading activities. The intervention will be implemented over two years, in kindergarten and first grade.
Two sites are participating in the investigation: the University of Kansas and the University of Washington-Seattle. General plans are for materials preparation and recruitment until school starts in the fall of year one, investigation of the intervention in years one through four, and data analysis in year four.