The social behavior of autistic children with younger and same-age nonhandicapped peers

J Autism Dev Disord. 1986 Sep;16(3):249-62. doi: 10.1007/BF01531658.


Results of a study observing autistic children's interactions with nonhandicapped and autistic peers are reported. Six 8- to 12-year-old autistic children played in dyads with younger, normally developing kindergarten children and with nonhandicapped peers matched on chronological age for 10 15-minute sessions spaced over 3 weeks and then with a playmate of the alternate age for another 10 sessions. After intervention, all subjects showed gains in proximity, orientation, and responsiveness when playing with nonhandicapped peers and with autistic classmates. Same-age nonhandicapped playmates initiated more frequently than did younger nonhandicapped playmates and were better able to modify their initiations in ways that increased the likelihood of response from the autistic children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Autistic Disorder / psychology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Generalization, Psychological
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Peer Group*
  • Play and Playthings
  • Social Behavior*