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The Watson Institute PowerPoint Presentation
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The Watson Institute

The Watson Institute

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The Watson Institute

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  1. The Watson Institute A Pilot Study of The Relationship Between Reduced Socialization and Home Schooling In Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders Joyce Giovannelli, Ph.D., Julie A Knapp, Ph.D., Leslie Kast, M.A., & Joseph R. McAllister, Jr. Ph.D. PARTICIPANTS / METHODS RESULTS INTRODUCTION # Hours Engaged in Social Activities Pre and Post Home Schooling Research indicates that school aged children with autism spectrum disorders are at greater risk for being bullied (Attwood, 2006; Barnhard, Prior & Potter, 2000), having fewer friends (Bauminger & Karai, 2000), experiencing social anxiety (Gadow, Devincent, Pomeroy & Aziaian, 2005), and engaging in school refusal (Kurita, 1991). These reasons may influence a parent’s decision to homeschool their child with ASD. It is possible that home schooling may negatively reinforce reduced socialization; i.e., removing a child from a situation that is aversive to them, may decrease their anxiety, therefore making it less likely that they will enter a similar situation. It is possible that this avoidance behavior may generalize to other social events, making it more likely that children with ASD will become more isolative. • Participants • Children between the ages of 8 and 17 who had been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. N=8 • Assessment Measures • Checklist of Social Activities – Parent Version. This measure collects number of hours spent engaging in various social activities. • A Likert scale (0-7) measure of social anxiety. • Method • A two-part parental interview was conducted. • Retrospective data was collected regarding • the child’s functioning during their last year of • public or private school. • Current data was collected regarding social • functioning in the past home schooling year. HYPOTHESES • Comparison of Levels of Social Anxiety, Pre and Post Home Schooling (7 pt. scale: 0 = none; 7 = very high) • Participants will currently engage in less social • activities than when they were in public or • private school. • Participant’s level of social anxiety will decrease • due to less social demands placed upon them. PURPOSE CONCLUSIONS/FUTURE RESEARCH The purpose of this pilot study was to examine the effects of home schooling on the number of social activities in which children with ASD participate, as well as examine any changes in the level of social anxiety. • Pilot study results did not indicate statistically significant differences between any measures of social activities before and after home schooling. However, results did indicate that participants experienced significantly less social anxiety after home schooling. Lower levels of social anxiety may be due to ability to choose social environment, thus lowering the unpredictable nature of situations, and lack of exposure to bullying. Weaknesses of the study include the use of retrospective data, parent report only, high variability in hours participating in activities (as reflected by SD’s > M’s) and small sample size. Future studies should include participant and parent report, as well as a larger sample size. However, this pilot study suggests that if schools could implement programs for children with ASD that included protection from bullying and a more predictable structure, anxiety levels may decrease.