All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Fred Biasini

Advisory Committee Members

Sylvie Mrug

Scott Snyder

Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2013

Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

Obtaining information regarding the social status of preschool children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) has not been a focus of any sociometric research to date. It is also unknown whether the impact of social behavior problems on the social status of children with ASD emerges before school age. This study addressed this gap by examining the social status of young children with ASD. Data were collected at an early intervention preschool program designed for children with ASD. Both students and teachers provided information on acceptance, rejection and popularity. Results indicate that students and teachers reported children with ASD to have lower overall social status, and fewer reciprocated friendships than typically developing peers. Externalizing behavior problems mediated the effects of a diagnosis of ASD on social status among children with ASD. These results expand upon the results of previous sociometric studies of school-aged children with ASD. Findings suggest that early intervention focused on decreasing behavior problems of preschool children with ASD may be needed to improve their abilities to develop positive social relationships and prevent peer rejection upon transition into elementary school.

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