Training Peer Models to Promote Social Skills: Considerations for Practice

Therese L. Mathews, Christopher Vatland, Ashley M. Lugo, Elizabeth A. Koenig, Shawn P. Gilroy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Social skills training programs have increasingly enlisted same-age typical peers as instructors in the teaching of social skills to children with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The inclusion of peers in the teaching process has been found to be a critical component in these programs. Despite strong support for incorporating peers in social skills programs, there are few guidelines for training peers. The present study examined a treatment package to teach typical school-aged children skills to become peer models. A multiple baseline across behaviors research design was implemented using components of behavioral skills training to teach (a) initiating verbal interactions, (b) prompting for targeted skills, and (c) delivery of praise. The peer models quickly acquired the skill of initiating verbal interactions; however, posting of data, prompting, and additional contingencies were needed to maintain and generalize prompting for targeted skills and delivery of praise with novel children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)160-170
Number of pages11
JournalFocus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018


  • autism spectrum disorders
  • behavioral skills training
  • peer models
  • performance feedback
  • social skills
  • socialization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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