Effective Peer-Mediated Strategies for Improving the Conversational Skills of Adolescents With Autism Deficits in social-communication skills can leave high school students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) socially marginalized where conversation is the primary medium for social interaction. Interventions are needed to improve conversational skills and facilitate interactions with peers while students with ASD are still in school, yet few research-based strategies exist ... Article
Article  |   March 31, 2016
Effective Peer-Mediated Strategies for Improving the Conversational Skills of Adolescents With Autism
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Linda M. Bambara
    College of Education, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA
  • Jacquelyn Chovanes
    College of Education, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA
  • Amanda Thomas
    College of Education, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA
  • Christine L. Cole
    College of Education, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA
  • Financial Disclosure: Linda M. Bambara is a professor of Special Education at Lehigh University. Jacquelyn Chovanes is a doctoral student in Special Education at Lehigh University. Amanda Thomas is a doctoral student in Special Education at Lehigh University. Christine L. Cole is a professor of School Psychology at Lehigh University.
    Financial Disclosure: Linda M. Bambara is a professor of Special Education at Lehigh University. Jacquelyn Chovanes is a doctoral student in Special Education at Lehigh University. Amanda Thomas is a doctoral student in Special Education at Lehigh University. Christine L. Cole is a professor of School Psychology at Lehigh University.×
  • Nonfinancial Disclosure: The authors have no nonfinancial interests related to the content of this article.
    Nonfinancial Disclosure: The authors have no nonfinancial interests related to the content of this article.×
Article Information
Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / School-Based Settings / Normal Language Processing / Part 1
Article   |   March 31, 2016
Effective Peer-Mediated Strategies for Improving the Conversational Skills of Adolescents With Autism
Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, March 2016, Vol. 1, 29-36. doi:10.1044/persp1.SIG1.29
History: Received August 30, 2015 , Revised October 12, 2015 , Accepted November 19, 2015
Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, March 2016, Vol. 1, 29-36. doi:10.1044/persp1.SIG1.29
History: Received August 30, 2015; Revised October 12, 2015; Accepted November 19, 2015

Deficits in social-communication skills can leave high school students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) socially marginalized where conversation is the primary medium for social interaction. Interventions are needed to improve conversational skills and facilitate interactions with peers while students with ASD are still in school, yet few research-based strategies exist for high school settings. In this article, we describe three peer-mediated conversational strategies documented to be effective through our research: strategies to (a) support overall conversational engagement, (b) increase initiations to start conversations, and (c) increase follow-up questions to sustain conversations. The peer-mediated strategies are combined with teaching students with ASD to use visual supports to strengthen intervention effectiveness. We highlight methods for peer training, outcomes of our research, and implications for speech-language pathologists (SLPs).

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