The purpose of this paper is to review the knowledge available from aggregated research (primarily through 2000) on the characteristics of social interactions and social relationships among young children with autism, with special attention to strategies and tactics that promote competence or improved performance in this area. In its commissioning letter for the initial version of this paper, the Committee on Educational Interventions for Children with Autism of the National Research Council requested "a critical, scholarly review of the empirical research on interventions to facilitate the social interactions of children with autism, considering adult-child interactions (where information is available) as well as child-child interactions, and including treatment of [one specific question]: What is the empirical evidence that social irregularities of children with autism are amenable to remediation?" To do this, the paper (a) reviews the extent and quality of empirical literature on social interaction for young children with autism; (b) reviews existing descriptive and experimental research that may inform us of relations between autism and characteristics that support social development, and efforts to promote improved social outcomes (including claims for effectiveness for several specific types of intervention); (c) highlights some possible directions for future research; and (d) summarizes recommendations for educational practices that can be drawn from this research.
- Early intervention
- Social interaction