Training institutionalized, elderly mentally retarded persons as intervention agents for socially isolate peers

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In this study each of two elderly mentally retarded women were taught to engage two withdrawn peers in appropriate social interaction. Three training techniques—minimal instructions, role playing, direct prompting—were evaluated in a combined multiple baseline and reversal design. The study was concerned also with the systematic fading of role playing and prompting procedures and the assessment of social behavior changes across time in nontreatment (generalization) setting. The results showed that: (a) both peer change agents effectively altered the social behavior of their designated target subject; (b) the three training procedures produced differential results across change agent-target person dyads; (c) both role playing and prompting techniques were faded successfully; and (d) none of the training techniques produced generalized behavior change.

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