Document Type

Article

Abstract

Autism is a disorder characterized by repetitive and restrictive patterns of behavior as well as deficits in development of social skills and purposeful language and communication. Students diagnosed with autism have been found to benefit greatly from fostering social interactions with their typically developing peers, gaining valuable skills such as initiation, attention, and response. This paper summarizes the efforts of Project New Friends which aimed to educate typically developing peers, as well as methodically increase social behaviors through implementation of a structured relationship-building class for three students diagnosed with autism and nine typically developing eighth grade peers. It is the persistent interactions with peers that allows students with autism the opportunity to develop and generalize social skills they lack.

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