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The Association Between Parent Engagement and Child Outcomes in Social Skills Training Programs: Discovering the Secret Agent Society in Partnership

Costley, Debra; Baldwin, Susanna; Clark, Trevor; Howlin, Patricia; Taffe, John R.; Beaumont, Renae; Gray, Kylie M.; Enfeld, Stewart L.; Smith Merry, Jennifer; Roberts, Jacqueline; Sofronoff, Kate

Authors

Susanna Baldwin

Trevor Clark

Patricia Howlin

John R. Taffe

Renae Beaumont

Kylie M. Gray

Stewart L. Enfeld

Jennifer Smith Merry

Jacqueline Roberts

Kate Sofronoff



Abstract

Previous research in clinical, community, and school settings has demonstrated positive outcomes for the Secret Agent Society (SAS) social skills training program. This is designed to help children on the autism spectrum become more aware of emotions in themselves and others and to ‘problem-solve’ complex social scenarios. Parents play a key role in the implementation of the SAS program, attending information and support sessions with other parents and providing supervision, rewards, and feedback as their children complete weekly ‘home mission’ assignments. Drawing on data from a school-based evaluation of the SAS program, this study examined whether parents’ engagement with these elements of the intervention was linked to the quality of their children’s participation and performance. Sixty-eight 8-14 year olds (mean age 10.7) with a diagnosis of autism participated in the program. The findings indicated that ratings of parental engagement were positively correlated with children’s competence in completing home missions and with the quality of their contribution during group teaching sessions. However, there was a less consistent relationship between parental engagement and measures of children’s social and emotional skill gains over the course of the program.

Citation

Costley, D., Baldwin, S., Clark, T., Howlin, P., Taffe, J. R., Beaumont, R., …Sofronoff, K. (2020). The Association Between Parent Engagement and Child Outcomes in Social Skills Training Programs: Discovering the Secret Agent Society in Partnership. Australasian Journal of Special and Inclusive Education, 44(1), 46-59. https://doi.org/10.1017/jsi.2020.2

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 19, 2019
Online Publication Date Mar 31, 2020
Publication Date 2020-07
Deposit Date Jan 6, 2020
Publicly Available Date Oct 1, 2020
Journal Australasian Journal of Special and Inclusive Education
Print ISSN 2515-0731
Electronic ISSN 2515-074X
Publisher Cambridge University Press (CUP)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 44
Issue 1
Pages 46-59
DOI https://doi.org/10.1017/jsi.2020.2
Keywords Social skills; Parental engagement; School programs
Public URL https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/output/3677042
Publisher URL https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/australasian-journal-of-special-and-inclusive-education/article/association-between-parent-engagement-and-child-outcomes-in-social-skills-training-programs-discovering-the-secret-agent-society-in-partnership/6D99043
Additional Information This article has been published in a revised form in Australasian Journal of Special and Inclusive Education, https://doi.org/10.1017/jsi.2020.2 . This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. Not for re-distribution or re-use. © The Authors.

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