This paper examines articles that have done research on social improvement skills in individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS). Many of the articles focus on social skills therapy groups (SSTG), such as the Social Effectiveness Therapy (SET-C) test, and how they help improve social interaction. Other articles focus on less standard practices to help reduce AS symptoms; some of these tests are Therapeutic Horseback Riding (THR) and power cards. In addition, a summary of AS and its symptoms is also provided within this paper. A methods section of this paper hypothesizes how one of the SSTGs, the SET-C test, will also improve social interactions in adults and not just children alone. There will be a total of 10 participants diagnosed with AS split into two groups for this study: one group will consist of 5 members that are from high school, and the second group will consist of 5 members over the age of 40. The subjects will follow a 16 week training course in which they will go through the 4 phases of the SET-C test, allowing 4 weeks per phase. This study will be helpful because it will determine whether the SET-C is an effective treatment for adults with AS that have not had any prior therapy treatment for AS.
Keywords: Asperger’s Syndrome, Social Skills Therapy Groups, Social Effectiveness Therapy (SET-C)
How to Improve Social Interaction in Those with Asperger’s Syndrome Daily interactions between people occur every minute that passes by. However, for those diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS), this daily interaction is a tremendous obstacle that proves very difficult to live with. Many studies have been dedicated to finding a remedy that reduces the effects of AS on social interaction, which includes behaviors such as starting and maintaining a conversation, eye contact, and conversation topics. Most studies have consisted of subjects meeting in Social Skills Training Groups (SSTG), while some other less standard tests such as power cards, therapeutic horse-back riding (THR), and social stories in video modeling have been used to determine their effectiveness in diminishing symptoms of AS. This paper will examine two main topics. The first will be an overview of AS and its symptoms. The second will be research from multiple studies investigating whether SSTG therapy and the other methods mentioned help reduce the severity of AS and improve social interaction or not. Furthermore, this paper will examine if Social Skills Tests are more affective treating AS than other, atypical procedures. A basic knowledge of AS and its symptoms are necessary in order to understand why social interaction is so difficult for those who are diagnosed with it. It was discovered in 1944 by Austrian doctor Hans Asperger, but even after its discovery AS was not given sufficient attention until 1981 when L. Wing declared in her publication that autism and AS were not distinct conditions (Matson & Wilkins, 2008). This stirred much controversy since there has been much debate regarding AS as a form of High Functioning Autism (HFA) or whether it is its own separate disorder. The reason for this debate stems from the similarities of the symptoms the two disorders have in common. For example, both AS and Autism exhibit motorically repetitive behaviors and object spinning. Imagine holding a conversation with an AS diagnosed individual; during the conversation, they will repeatedly rub their hands together, or continue to focus on one specific topic over and over again. However, there are a few differences (such as IQ levels) that continue to separate the two, which prolongs the debate of classification. When researching AS, Asperger found that the disorder is most prevalent in boys. In addition, it cannot usually be detected until the child reaches the age of three. The main symptoms he discovered regarding speech were