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Special Education 402

EDSP 402: Expanding Social Competence for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Prerequisites: EDSP 400

Credits: (3)

Addresses strategies to assist individuals with autism to communicate and socialize. Emphasis is on analysis of environmental demands, assessing social competence, determining individual preferences, and offering instruction to address priority skills that will positively affect socializing in a variety of contexts.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

Students in this course will learn:
• What social skills and social competence are.
• The medical model versus a social construction of disabilities.
• The importance of social relationships to development and quality of life.
• Neurological/cognitive theories (theory of mind, executive dysfunction, and weak central coherence) related to ASD and their impact on socialization
• How to assess social environments to determine necessary social skills.
• How to assess social skills and prioritize, and plan for instruction related to social skill preferences.
• How to critique social skill curricula marketed for families and educators who support individuals with ASD.
• Plan for and actively ensure generalization and maintenance of taught social skills.

Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

This course is conducted through lecture, discussion, cooperative group learning, demonstrations, case study examples, textbook and journal article reading,  and video.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

Upon successful completion of this course students will be able to:
• Describe social skill development, social competence, and the unique social skill challenges associated with having an ASD.
• Describe the importance of social relationships and the need for social interaction, social rules, and age appropriate leisure activities.
• Complete an ecological assessment of social environments.
• Develop and implement a program designed to teach priority social skills.

Assessment Measures

• Complete reading assignments and participate in class discussions and activities.
• Write critical summaries of research articles related to the development of social competence and social skill instruction for people with ASD.
• Complete quizzes and/or exams at the discretion of the instructor
• Interview a practicing professional regarding social supports necessary for students with autism OR review and write a paper about commercial social skill curricula


Other Course Information

This class may be co-listed with EDSP 502. Student performance will be evaluated through differentiated assignments depending on EDSP 402 versus EDSP 502 level of the course.


Review and Approval
2004            Course Proposed            Alice Anderson
Syllabus Revision; Prereq Change        Leslie S. Daniel

March, 2010