Conversations are the building blocks of relationships in high school and later adult life. Yet, conversational skills can pose challenges for students with ASD, and as a result, they can become socially isolated from their peers. Learn how to implement peer-mediated strategies for improving conversational skills such as initiating conversation, asking questions, and sustained turn-taking, based on our research. We illustrate strategies with video examples. Participants will be able to: 1. Summarize the need, importance, and challenges associated with enhancing the conversational abilities of high school students with ASD. 2. Identify instructional goals for improving social-communication interactions with peers based on a classification scheme for evaluating conversational difficulties. 3. Implement peer-mediated strategies to support sustained conversational engagement between general education peers and students with ASD, based on our research. 4. Implement peer-mediated strategies and visual supports to encourage students with ASD to initiate conversation and ask partner-focused questions based on our research and other published studies. 5. Initiate a plan for establishing peer training in their schools, building upon or creating inclusive opportunities for social-conversation and peer relationships.
Linda Bambara, Christine Cole, Cathy Kunsch, Shu-Chen Tsai, Robin Drogan