This study examined the differential effect of a highly structured adult-directed behavioral treatment condition and a more flexible child-oriented blending of behavioral and developmental treatment strategies in a clinical group setting with autistic children. The children with autism following the more flexible child-oriented treatment condition engaged significantly more in higher-order play activities allowing for peer proximity and demonstrated better social functioning during activities with other autistic peers. A relation of child-oriented teaching utilizing less intrusive prompting to more developmentally appropriate play as well as social functioning was found. The findings suggest that child-oriented play and social skill interventions in the clinical context, although being applied in a group of autistic children, may facilitate social functioning and engagement. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.
- Social functioning