Incorporating Social Peers into ABA Instruction to Teach Social Skills

Kate LaLonde & Kenzie Gatewood
5.00 out of 5
(4 customer reviews)



This presentation from the 2017 Michigan Autism Conference focuses on using ABA therapy in inclusive preschool settings to help young children with autism develop friendships and social skills by interacting with neurotypical children. It details strategies for language and social skills training, facilitating interactions between children with and without autism, and integrating children with autism into typical preschool routines. These approaches aim to create therapeutic environments that resemble real-life settings for applying social skills.

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Young children with autism often have difficulty cultivating friendships due to the language and social deficits associated with the disorder. Additionally, therapeutic environments may not be arranged to promote social interaction between individuals with autism and those without autism. As such, individuals with autism often lack appropriate models for language and social skills. Further, therapists face multiple challenges in creating therapeutic environments that mimic real-life settings in which children would apply these skills. A possible solution is to include children with autism in education and social settings with neurotypical children. This presentation will outline how to use Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy in inclusive pre-school settings. The strategies outlined have been developed and evaluated at Michigan State University’s Early Learning Institute, an inclusive, early intensive behavior intervention center for young children with autism. Specific strategies discussed will include language and social skills training, facilitating activities between children with and without autism, and incorporating children with autism into typical routines observed in preschool settings.

About the Speaker

Kate LaLonde, Clinical Director at Early Learning Institute (ELI) and an Assistant Professor with a joint appointment in Counseling, Educational Psychology & Special Education (CEPSE), Human Development and Family Studies. LaLonde is an assistant professor of special education, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst – Doctoral (BCBA-D) and the Clinical Director of the Early Learning Institute. Her research focuses on using behavior analysis to solve socially significant problems. She spent time in Tanzania as a researcher at APOPO (, an NGO using operant conditioning procedure to teach giant African pouched rats to detect landmines and tuberculosis. Her research also focuses on problems often observed in individuals with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities. She is specifically interested in increasing vocal speech, complex social skills, and physical activity in children and adults. She has also published in natural environment teaching and behavioral gerontology.

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Below is the entire open-access version of this video. It does not contain embedded questions or interactions like the CEU version of the module.

4 reviews for Incorporating Social Peers into ABA Instruction to Teach Social Skills

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  1. Avatar

    Out of all my CEU coursework over the last five years this particular one stands out for me. The strategies are not only utilizing peers for social skills, it is also teaching their typical peers social skills with children who have ASD. I’ve used several strategies-I like the Hide-and-Seek the best! Thank you!!

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    I find this presentation inspiring that there are many opportunities of inclusion to bring social skills to a greater level.

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    Engaging and great videos for reference.

    (0) (0)
  4. Riley J Moncrief

    Easy and informative CEU

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A portion of the proceeds from this module goes directly to the Michigan Autism Conference

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Incorporating Social Peers into ABA Instruction to Teach Social Skills
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