Title: Improving question asking in high-functioning adolescents with autism spectrum disorders.
Source: Autism 2008; 12; 83

An interesting study by Annemiek Palmen, Robert Didden and Marieke Arts in the Neatherlands. They implemented a 6-weeks small group training program with young adults with high functioning autism. The sessions were 60 minutes long once per week. The focus of the sessions was improving “question asking” techniques, which were practiced mostly during role play situations. The authors found that the total number of appropriate questions asked by the participants during mock naturalistic conversations increased significantly after the short training program.

There was something very unique about this study and training method. The clinicians taught the participants to use a flowchart that helped them make decisions regarding when and how to ask questions during conversations. The flowchart was not specific to any topic so that the participants could apply it to any conversation. It is promising that, not only there was a clear improvement in how well the participants asked questions during normal conversations, but that this improvement seemed stable, at least 3 weeks following the study. That is, the researchers conduced a follow up evaluation 3 weeks later and found that the participants continued to show improvements in their question asking skills.

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