As detailed in the previous chapter, children with ASD are more likely to have low acceptance or to be rejected by their peers than children without disabilities ( Swanson & Malone, 1992). Although the lower peer acceptance of children with ASD has been repeatedly documented, few, if any, studies have examined the pathways that might explain this relationship.
The research literature does, however, provide some intriguing clues that the lower peer acceptance of children with ASD might be explained by their impaired social cognition and/or higher levels of disruptive behavior. Specifically, research has found that, on the average, children with ASD differ from their normally achieving peers on both social cognition and social behavior (e.g., McKinney & Feagans, 1984; Sisterhern & Gerber, 1989). Furthermore, other researchers studying predictors of peer acceptance in the general population of children have found that social cognitions and social behavior predicted children’s sociometric status (e.g., Putallaz, 1988; Yoon et al., 2000).
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