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Special Education and Autists’ Social Interactions

Early childhood practitioners meet with a daily challenge of ensuring that all children, including those with special needs, acquire the necessary skills for development. Helping a child with a particular requirement is never easy; one needs unique skills, creativity, and perseverance. In the direction of offering some options to special education practitioners, Kelle and Juane explore the use of peers (in a reverse design model) to develop social skills for children with autism disorders.

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In their study, Kelle & Juane (2000) explore educational approaches that can mitigate the problem of poor social development among children with autism disorder. All educational practitioners meet with socially challenged children, such as those with autistic disorders, during practice. As the authors noted, educational practitioners need to employ effective and tested approaches that bring the social skills of special children at par with those of their peers. Considering the capacity for special children to participate positively in the development of society, educational practitioners need to mitigate the problem of poor social development among special children.

The authors provide essential details needed for this particular research. Here the authors explain critical social deficiencies present in each of the targeted participants. Besides, the authors state defining elements present in the research setting. Here, the authors provide information on the number and availability of trained professionals, regular social class around the school environment, and the number of children per class, among other details. One finds the description of the research setting adequate for understanding this particular study.

Besides, the authors fully describe the procedures they followed while recording dependent variables. After defining four key social elements, the authors and other fellow participants recorded the number of times these key social elements occurred. To protect the reliability of this particular study, two observers recorded data separately (Kelle & Juane, 2000). Since the authors used a simple, cheap, but reliable method to collect data, educational practitioners can easily apply a similar method during practice.

Besides, the authors provide all essential details about the research setting as well as procedures followed. Apart from describing the research setting, the authors provide information on how they prepared participants for the experiment, how they conducted the experiment, and how they analyzed collected data from the experiment. To some extent, the design of the experiment conflicts with my beliefs about good teaching practice for educational practitioners. It appears unethical to introduce positive intervention measures in a group before withdrawing these same measures later; hence, not advisable for practitioner practice. However, the authors provide adequate details about the intervention measures that they used.

The authors show the benefits of encouraging peers to interact actively with their special needs peers. As the authors explain, such a direction increases the rates of social activities present among targeted participants (Kelle & Juane, 2000). The authors observed the pace of social interactions to increase by more than 300% for both participants (Kelle & Juane, 2000). However, one would still want to know if such a change remains long term without intervention measures.

An essential thing that one learns from this particular study is the role of peers in developing social skills among special needs children. Also, one learns that encouraging peers to engage actively with special needs children is a productive approach in helping special needs children develop social skills. Moreover, one sees that this particular study was partly successful due to efforts the authors undertook to prepare all participants for their research; thus, an important direction to follow during practice. An early childhood practitioner can use the resources of peers in the classroom to help learners with special needs to develop social skills. Undertaking such a task requires a first childhood practitioner to find creative ways of encouraging his children to engage actively with their special needs peers.

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Reference List

Kelle, M & Juane, H. (2000) Enhancing social skills of kindergarten children with autism through the training of multiple peers as tutors. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 30 (3), 183-192.

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