Generalisation of Social Communication Skills by Autistic Children During Play‑Based Assessments Across Home, School and an Unfamiliar Research Setting

PACT-G Trial Grp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We investigated autistic children’s generalisation of social communication over time across three settings during a play-based
assessment with different adults and explore the potential moderating effects on generalisation of age, nonverbal IQ and level
of restricted and repetitive behaviours. The social communication abilities of 248 autistic children (2–11 years, 21% female,
22% single parent, 60% white) from three UK sites were assessed from 1984 video interactions in three contexts with three
different interaction partners (parent/home, teaching assistant/school, researcher/clinic) at baseline, midpoint (+ 7m) and
endpoint (+ 12m) within the Paediatric Autism Communication Trial-Generalised (PACT-G), a parent-mediated social communication
intervention. Children’s midpoint social communication at home generalised to school at midpoint and to clinic at
endpoint. Generalisation was stronger from home to school and clinic than school to home and clinic. Generalisation was not
moderated by age, nonverbal IQ or restricted and repetitive behaviour. Broader child development did not explain the pattern
of results. The current study is the largest study to date to explore generalisation with autistic children and provides novel
insight into their generalisation of social communication skills. Further research is needed to gain a more comprehensive
understanding of facilitators of generalisation across settings and interaction partners in order to develop targeted strategies
for interventions to enhance outcomes for young autistic children.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2024

Keywords

  • Autism
  • Development
  • Social communication
  • Generalisation

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