Assistant Professor in Autism Spectrum Disorders, earned her Ph.D. in special education from Macquarie University in Australia, M.Ed. in special education from Monash University, and B.Ed. in special education from National Tainan Teachers College in Taiwan. Prior to embarking on an academic career, she worked as a self-contained classroom teacher, resource room teacher, and Chinese language teacher at the early childhood, childhood, and adolescent levels. Her research has focused on several areas involving individuals with autism, including communication characteristics, cultural differences, academic abilities (language and mathematics), teaching strategies, postsecondary outcomes, the differences between Asperger’s disorder and autistic disorder, quality of life, and interventions for children with autism and their parents. She is the director of a thematically structured Saturday enrichment program for children with autism and a parent education program for parents of children with autism.
Using Thematically Structured Teaching to Improve Social Interaction and Communication Skills of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
This study was conducted to examine the efficacy of a thematically structured teaching program to improve communication and social interaction skills of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This program consisted of ten 2-hours thematically structured teaching sessions. Each session had a theme and was composed of four 30-minutes sequential segments: (a) dance party and greeting, (b) an interactive story and stations, (c) language, mathematics, and science, and (d) arts projects and goodbye. Each segment activity was associated with the session theme. A total of 56 children with ASD aged 3-12 years participated in this study. A quasi-experimental pre-test/post-test intervention group vs. waitlist control group design was used. The results of this study showed that the treatment group significantly improved their communication skills and social interaction skills than the waitlist control group.
Keywords: autism, intervention, treatment, communication, social interaction.