The SociaBillyQuizz is the first example [ 55 ]. The authors built a board game with cards on social skills with which children suffering from Asperger syndrome played during group sessions. The settings of the group, particularly the small size of population and the chronological structure with different parts welcome, game, and conclusion , were the same as in our study.
The authors explained that games are a good means of developing social skills and overcoming inhibitions associated with group situations.
Moreover, play and board games allow for better generalization [ 55 ]. Beaumont also used a game in a social skills group for Asperger-affected children. This group relied on blended implicit and explicit learning.
For this game, they benefited from virtual theoretical learning explicit learning and learning by exposure to virtual social situations implicit learning. Next, they participated in a real social group to facilitate generalization.
This group improved the social skills of the children [ 70 ]. The specific nature of our group was that it was exclusively implicit, using games that had been transformed into cooperative games, which should allow for even better generalization. In effect, the children could not complete the game if they did not solicit the help of their peers, which involved thinking about others, learning how to formulate a question, understanding what the other person says, and answering in an appropriate manner.
For instance, Corbett showed efficacy on social competence of a theater-based intervention with young, trained peer actors [ 75 ]. Barber demonstrated efficacy of the Stay Play Talk procedure: a neurotypical child was paired with a child with ASD and was taught to stay, play and talk with him during min weekly sessions about communication skills [ 76 ].
This methodology appears to allow good generalization [ 73 , 75 ].
The main limitation of our study was the small size of our population. This point is itself related to how social skills groups work because they must be homogeneous and consist of a limited number of patients to be effective [ 8 , 38 , 39 ]. Despite the small size, we found significant results that demonstrated the efficacy of our group in acquiring social skills. With this type of study, it is possible to observe significant differences before and after the intervention, but we cannot state that the observed difference is due exclusively to the intervention [ 77 ].
There may indeed be confounding factors. To overcome these confounding factors, it is preferable to use controlled studies with a matched control group. We did not want to use a control group of children with ASD who would not be offered treatment through social skills groups because it would be unacceptable to us to deprive the affected children of treatment that could help them. Most likely due to these difficulties, few controlled studies are available in the literature [ 11 , 49 ].
In our study, social skills were greatly improved on three independent scales completed by different evaluators, which helps reduce the risk of confusion bias. Lastly, three of the studied children with ASD left our child psychiatry day hospital after the year of care. Hence, it was not possible to study social skills in a sustained manner over time. We expect that implicit learning with play and cooperative games in our group would have resulted in sustained improvement in social skills, as observed in a study by Pourre et al with an implicit social skills group.
They observed a continuity of therapeutic benefits 6 months after the group ended [ 55 ]. We have shown that an implicit social skills training group using cooperative games improved the social skills of children with ASD without ID. This improvement primarily affected their cognitive processes. Implicit groups could allow better generalization of acquired skills than explicit groups. The results should be verified in a specific study to assess the long-term maintenance of the acquired skills. Comparison with an explicit group would also be interesting because it would show the strengths and weaknesses of these groups and their respective interest in the target population.
It would be interesting to combine implicit social skills group and peer-mediated interventions, which both are based on implicit procedures. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U.
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PLoS One. Published online Jul Jacobus P. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist. Validation: ST EJ. Received Feb 14; Accepted Jun This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Associated Data Data Availability Statement Data contains information that could be used to identify study participants and is available on request from the corresponding author. Objective To evaluate the efficacy of an implicit social skills training group in children with ASDs without intellectual disability.
Methods A before-and-after study of children with ASD without intellectual disability was conducted in a child psychiatry day hospital, where they participated in an implicit group with cooperative games. Results Six patients aged 9 to 10 years old were evaluated. Introduction Autism spectrum disorders ASDs are serious disorders that occur in early childhood and affect development [ 1 , 2 ].
Practicing Social Skills: How to Teach Your Student Social Interactions
Social cognition and social skills training groups in children with ASD 1. Social cognition in autism Social cognition is defined as the set of mental processes involved in social interaction [ 18 ]. Learning and social skills training groups There are two ways of learning: explicit and implicit [ 16 , 17 ]. Objective Our primary objective was to assess the efficacy of social skills training groups in terms of socialization in children with ASD using an implicit modality involving a collaborative game. Method 2. Exclusion criteria: We excluded children who had stopped participation.
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Conduct of the groups The goal of the groups was to work on different social and emotional situations to develop mentalization, cooperation, and assertiveness abilities in children. Hypothesis We hypothesized that the social skills of children with ASD would improve after participating in the implicit social skills group. Statistical methods For each child, we calculated the score difference for each scale and subscale EQ, SEP, and CARS between the two assessments, namely, before establishing the group and then after 22 weeks of social skills training.
Results 2. Description of the population We recruited a population of 7 patients. Open in a separate window. Fig 1. Table 1 Baseline characteristics of the population. Fig 2. Patient no. Fig 3. Discussion 2. Discussion concerning the study population Our population of ASD children was homogeneous in terms of age and level of schooling. Discussion of the primary results In the SEP, there was an improvement in general adaptation, particularly in social skills, which is where we especially wanted to focus with the social skills training group. The effect sizes were large, indicating a real change in social skills.
Discussion concerning the measurement instruments We wanted to use different scales because social skills are multidimensional, which makes assessment difficult when using a single instrument [ 49 ].
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Limitations The main limitation of our study was the small size of our population. Conclusion We have shown that an implicit social skills training group using cooperative games improved the social skills of children with ASD without ID. Funding Statement The authors received no specific funding for this work.
Data Availability Data contains information that could be used to identify study participants and is available on request from the corresponding author. References 1.
Social skills are important for inclusion
Epidemiology of pervasive developmental disorders In: Autism spectrum disorders. New York: Oxford University Press; Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM C: American Psychiatric Association; Psychiatric disorders in children with autism spectrum disorders: prevalence, comorbidity, and associated factors in a population-derived sample.
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