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Autism and how it relates to social learning theory

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Autism And How it Relates To Social Learning Theory
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Autism is a highly convoluted disorder that has a significant impact on the child’s communication skills, social skills and hinders a kid’s interest and activities (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). For a child to be diagnosed with this condition, he/she must demonstrate six characteristics that have been grouped into three primary categories. These three categories are communication impairment, social impairment and stereotyped behavior pattern (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). Albert Bandura codified the Social Learning Theory, which entails traditional learning theory process mashed up with B.F. Skinner’s operant conditions. Moreover, it incorporates the cognitive learning theory that states that physiological factors significantly influences learning. Social learning theory consists of four primary functions, observational learning, modeling process, Autistic students can be treated with the tints of Social Learning Theory, which include social initiating, direct instruction, and modeling. The paper herein will utilize the following four peer-reviewed articles to demonstrate their effectiveness about autism.
Battaglia & Radley (2014), studied the effectiveness of video modeling and peer-mediated social skills intervention for kids with autism. From this study, they discovered that school personnel should possess adequate knowledge of the best programs and practices; this experience would be highly beneficial to the kids.

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Moreover, according to Battaglia & Radley (2014), peer-mediated interventions are one of the most valuable skills because peers are trained to trigger social interaction and it also reduces pressure on the kid’s educators. Effective peer-intervention is a four step process namely selection of peers, identification of target skills and baseline data collection, intervention implementation and progress monitoring. Accordingly, two case studies were conducted on these steps on two children: Todd and Hailey. In Todd’s case study, his parents were provided with an ASSP scale that they were to fill. Todd’s results turned out to be a score of 91 implicating that experienced struggles in joining activities with other kids such as games. Moreover, data that was gathered from the observations and interviewed indicated a performance deficit. Consequently, the research pointed out that Todd would benefit from peer training and it was immediately implemented. Following this intervention, his ASSP score increased from 91 to 105 (Battaglia & Radley, 2014). On the other hand, Hailey is a six-year-old with mild cognitive impairments. Ten probes were conducted on her for a week, and the results indicated low levels of appropriate requests. Subsequently, Hailey was prompted to watch and initiate peer’s behavior. She began with 50% criterion that was later increased to 75% with continued personal training. Although this research is crucial to children with autism, the sample size, in this case, was small and more studies need to be conducted to render this phenomenon conclusive.
In the second article, it outlines studies whereby paraprofessionals were trained in the implementation of interventions for people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders in school. 153 paraprofessionals were surveyed, and it was discovered that they spent around 66% of their days providing instructions and implementing behavior plans for children with autism (Rispoli et al., 2011). This large use of paraprofessionals for such activities is alarming since they are inadequately trained for such situations. 12 studies were identified that meet the inclusion criteria selected and they were analyzed for intervention implementation, training procedure, participant characteristics, certainty, and outcomes. Across the studies, interventions were provided to 39 paraprofessionals and training methods such as instructional videos, verbal instructions and written instructions utilized. Out of the 12 studies conducted, seven shows positive outcomes while the rest showed mixed results. Since the primary objective of these studies was to identify the most promising procedure utilized to train paraprofessionals, this was a breakthrough. Additionally, it also showed much promising and conclusive results than Battaglia and Radley’s studies since a much large sample size was used. Nonetheless, future studies are required to identify critical training characteristics and components.
The next article was based on a study by Koegel (2014) which was conducted in three disparate school settings. The selected schools followed a comprehensive educational model in that disabled students were educated by their ordinary developing peers. This study utilized a 30-s partial interval recording procedure for each of the intervals; positive scores were recorded on the paraprofessional that implemented all the three procedures correctly and negative scores awarded to those that performed the procedures incorrectly. The conclusion from this study was that paraprofessionals were able to deliver score higher, produce the proper baseline and follow-up condition after intervention training (Koegel, 2014). Both Koegel’s and Rispoli’s studies pointed out that paraprofessional training is critical in educating children with autism. Nonetheless, further research needs to be carried out to observe if some schools would benefit from other methods such as questionnaires rather than paraprofessional training. Sources of error in this study could include the type of measurement procedures, school environment, and differing children characteristics.
The last article utilizes the use of virtual reality in enhancing social skills in children with ASD. The use of virtual reality has been previously used and proven to be an effective method of treating conditions such as stroke, phobia, anxiety and PTSD (Kandalaft et al., 2013). Nonetheless, the effectiveness of using the virtual reality in the treatment of ASD is yet to be proven. To study this phenomenon, some scenarios and techniques were used such as negotiating with a salesperson, celebrating with a friend, job interview, and a blind date. The article relates the effectiveness of VR-SCT modeling in assisting children with autism get real life scenarios that would help them practice in all sorts of environment. The reason behind this is autistic children have a hard time picking on sarcasm and detecting if a person is disinterested. Consequently, it leads to child isolation.
In conclusion, the above articles highlight the significance of video modeling, peer-mediated social skills intervention, paraprofessional training and virtual reality in aiding autistic children in learning. These breakthroughs are a significant step ahead in helping these children.

American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Help With Autism Spectrum Disorder. Retrieved November 16, 2015, from
Battaglia,A,A.,and Radley,KC.(2014). Peer-mediated Social SkillsTraining for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.Beyond Behavior, 23(2), 4-13.
Kandalaft, M., Didehbani, N., Krawczyk, D., Allen, T., & Chapman, S. (2013). Virtual Reality Social Cognition Training for Young Adults with High-Functioning Autism. Journal Of Autism & Developmental Disorders, 43(1), 34-44. doi:10.1007/s10803-012-1544-6
Koegel, R., Kim, S., & Koegel, L. (2014). Training Paraprofessionals to Improve Socialization in Students with ASD. Journal Of Autism & Developmental Disorders, 44(9), 2197-2208. doi:10.1007/s10803-014-2094-x
Rispoli, M., Neely, L., Lang, R., & Ganz, J. (2011). Training paraprofessionals to implement interventions for people autism spectrum disorders: A systematic review. Developmental Neurorehabilitation, 14(6), 378-388. doi:10.3109/17518423.2011.620577

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