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Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities




An exploratory, observation-based study sought to strengthen understanding of the development of social communication skills that facilitate academic success, particularly within general education settings. Sixteen middle and high school students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), all of whom participated in at least one period per day of core academic instruction in a general education classroom, were observed over a period of one to three months each. Frequencies of five appropriate and three inappropriate social academic behaviors are described, in terms of their relative frequencies to one another, and their overall consistency over the course of observations. Students observed were more likely to engage in appropriate, facilitative behaviors within the classroom setting than they were to demonstrate communicative symptoms of ASD. Most social academic behaviors were demonstrated at consistent frequencies over time. Implications for educational decision-making, progress monitoring, and future research are discussed.