Peer Interventions: Increasing Social Behaviors in Multihandicapped Children

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The efficacy of peer-mediated intervention for increasing social behaviors in blind, multihandicapped children was examined in a multiple-baseline analysis. Two nonhandicapped peers were trained to direct social initiations to four multihandicapped subjects during free play. An increase in play initiations by peers served to increase social behaviors in multihandicapped subjects. Moderate generalization of treatment effects was obtained under circumstances that differed from the intervention condition in that peers were present but not administering treatment. Maintenance of treatment gains was evidenced at a four-month follow-up. This study expands the literature on social skills training of the blind by targeting young, multihandicapped children with age-relevant skills, and on peer-mediated intervention by focusing on socially withdrawn children whose condition is complicated by severe physical disabilities.

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