Article: Comparison of Prompting Techniques to Teach Children with Autism to Ask Questions in the Context of a Conversation. By Swerdan and Rosales. In Focus on Autism and Other Dev. Disabilities, 2017, 32(2).
I am going to hijack the purpose of this article because I want to make a point. This article was about comparing training methods for getting ASD kids to ask questions. The results are probably not of interest to the average reader of this blog (e.g., "echoic" prompts were more efficient to achieve criterion than "textual" prompts), but one of the explicit purposes of this study may be of interest.
The authors note that time in therapy with ASD kids is precious. I could not agree more. Intervention can be expensive, and progress can be slow, so we want to make sure professionals are using the most efficient and effective tools possible. What the authors suggest, however, is they are interested in finding the best tool to get ASD kids to engage others in conversation (they compared "transfer of stimulus control procedure[s]" to get this done).
Why is this important? Because the typical individual does not learn social skills from professionals like me. The average kid doesn't even learn social skills from adults. They learn them from their peers. I cannot overstate this: the average person (both ASD and Neurotypical) learns the vast amount of their social skills from peer-based interactions. If you want the most effective and efficient means for teaching your ASD child social skills, let's focus on getting them successfully connected with peers (both ASD and Neurotypical). One of the best ways to do that is to teach them to successfully engage their peers. And how does one engage one's peers? By asking questions.