Peer relations in children with ASD (autism spectrum disorder).Research dating back to the 1970s has documented that children with ASD not only experience academic difficulties, but also have difficulty interacting with peers (Kavale and Forness, 1996).Some relevant research findings are then reviewed leading to the implication that children with autism and typically-developing peers may well have different views concerning what a friend is or what a friend does. A friendship involves an awareness of the other person’s feelings which may not be the same as one’s own; but this is the very area where the child with autism may have some disadvantage such that his or her perception of “a friend” may be more superficial and limited, for example, to someone who responds to a greeting.
The results of sociometric status research on children who have ASD have consistently indicated that these children are less likely to be accepted than their peers without ASD. However, the focus on social acceptance provides an incomplete view of the social integration of students with disabilities and may lead to misunderstanding about the types of interventions that are necessary to facilitate positive social development in inclusive classrooms (Farmer, Pearl, & Van Acker, 1996).
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