Generalization of autistic children's social behavior change: Effects of developmentally integrated and segregated settings

Document Type


Publication Date



This study was specifically designed to test the notion that a developmentally-integrated setting would yield superior generalized behavior change than would a developmentally-segregated setting. Four autistic boys served as target subjects. Each day, three 20-min play sessions were conducted. One setting was devoted to peer-mediated training, one to integrated generalization assessment, and one to segregated generalization assessment. The order of the three sessions was counterbalanced across the days of the study. The study employed a multiple baseline design across subjects to demonstrate experimental control over the subjects' positive social interaction, and a combined multiple baseline and simultaneous treatment design to evaluate the impact of developmentally-segregated and developmentally-integrated settings on generalized behavior change. During the Baseline condition each boy engaged in consistently low levels of positive interaction during all sessions. During the Peer Social Initiations I. condition each boy was exposed sequentially to a peer-mediated treatment package. Each day of this condition an integrated and a segregated generalization session was conducted. Only when the boys were exposed to the intervention did their level of positive interaction increase during training sessions. In the final condition, Peer Social Initiations II., treatment continued without alteration. However, now both generalization sessions were integrated. For each boy, clearly superior generalization effects were obtained during integrated sessions. The results of this study have clear social policy implications vis a vis Public Law 94-142 and its controversial stipulation for the placement of handicapped children in the least restrictive environment.

This document is currently not available here.