Interventions that target social cognition and social skills in autism have

Interventions that target social cognition and social

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Interventions that target social cognition and social skills in autism have shown positive, but often limited, effects (Bauminger, 2002, 2007; Gevers, Clifford, Mager, & Boer, 2006; Hadwin, Baron-Cohen, Howlin, & Hill, 1996; Ozonoff & Miller, 1995). These studies have utilized a variety of techniques, including cognitive behavior therapy, video
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SCIT-A 4 modeling, and peer modeling to teach a range of social cognitive and social interaction skills. In general, participants have been children or adolescents, and results have indicated improvements in specific targeted areas, with little generalization of skills outside the therapy setting. These interventions include three group therapy programs (Bauminger, 2007; Hadwin et al., 1997; Ozonoff & Miller, 1995). Both Hadwin et al. and Ozonoff and Miller targeted specific components of social cognition (e.g., theory of mind or emotion recognition) in addition to social skills. Bauminger (2007) recently tested a group intervention that targets several components of social cognition. However, this intervention includes a year of group intervention that follows a year of individual intervention. While these programs are promising for targeting social cognition and skill, none have included adult participants. Thus, little research has directly targeted social cognition and “real-world” social-functioning in adults with HFA. Social Cognition and Interaction Training (SCIT; Roberts, Penn, & Combs, 2004) , is a group intervention that was originally designed for adults with psychotic disorders to improve social cognition, social skills and community functioning (Couture, Penn, & Roberts, 2006). This program targets several components of social cognition, including emotion recognition, theory of mind, and attributions as well as social interaction skills. In a pilot study, Penn et al. (2005) found that SCIT was associated with improved performance in ToM and attributional style in a sample of inpatients with psychosis. Combs et al. (2007) demonstrated that individuals with psychosis who received SCIT showed greater improvement in emotion perception, ToM, attributions, and social functioning than individuals who participated in a coping skills group. SCIT may be a useful starting point for adapting a treatment for autism. Individuals with schizophrenia and those with autism have similarities with respect to social-cognitive functioning (Couture, Penn, Hurley, Losh, & Piven, 2005), visual scanpaths (Sasson et al., 2007), and neural activation during social cognitive tasks
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SCIT-A 5 (Pinkham, Hopfinger, Pelphrey, Piven, & Penn, in press). Specifically, Couture et al. (2005) found no differences between these two groups on measures of emotion perception and theory of mind. Recently, Pinkham et al. (in press) found that individuals with HFA and those with paranoid schizophrenia showed similar patterns of neural activations while rating the “trustworthiness” of faces. Finally, Sasson et al. (2007) found similarities between visual scanpaths when viewing social scenes and identifying emotions displayed between the two groups. These similarities in social-cognitive
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  • Spring '14
  • HFA, David L. Penn

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