WWC review of this study

Teaching social skills to preschool children in a special education program.

Ferentino, S. C. (1991). Dissertation Abstracts International, 52(08B), 223-4490.

  • Randomized controlled trial
     examining 
    65
     Students
    , grade
    PK
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: February 2013

Cognition outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence- Revised (WPPSI-R): Comprehension subtest

Social Skills Training vs. Unknown

Posttest

Preschoolers;
65 students

9.35

8.76

No

--
Social-emotional development outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales Classroom Edition: Socialization domain

Social Skills Training vs. Unknown

Posttest

Preschoolers;
65 students

50.44

32.58

Yes

 
 
44
More Outcomes

Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales Interview Edition: Socialization domain

Social Skills Training vs. Unknown

Posttest

Preschoolers;
65 students

65.76

62.05

No

--

Child Behavior Checklist for Ages 4-16 and 2-3, parents' ratings (CBCLP 4-16; CBCLP 2-3)

Social Skills Training vs. Unknown

Posttest

preschoolers;
65 students

49.13

47.55

No

--

Child Behavior Checklist for Ages 4-16 and 2-3, teacher's ratings (CBCLT 4-16; CBCLT 2-3)

Social Skills Training vs. Unknown

Posttest

Preschoolers;
65 students

43.75

45.79

No

--

Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children: Face Recognition subtest

Social Skills Training vs. Unknown

Posttest

Preschoolers;
65 students

9.73

11.06

No

-18
 
 

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 31%
    Male: 69%

  • Suburban
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    Northeast

Setting

The study was conducted in a special education school in a suburban metropolitan area of the northeastern United States.

Study sample

The eligibility criteria for this study included (a) the ability of the child to function in a class of eight to nine children and (b) parental consent to participate. Given these eligibility criteria, 100 participants in 12 classrooms were eligible from a population of 177 preschool children in a special education school. There were two other children in the school intervention group (S) that were dropped from the study as outliers. Nearly all participants had speech and language impairments; 25% had various other primary disabilities. The 12 classrooms in the study were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: (a) Four classrooms (n = 32 children) were assigned to a social skills training program to be administered in the school (S), (b) Four classrooms (n = 33 children) were assigned to a social skills training program that would be implemented in both the school and at home (S + H), and (c) Four classrooms (n = 33 children) were assigned to a waiting-list comparison group (C). For the purpose of this WWC report, the evidence of the social skills training program is identified by comparing the school-only group (S) against the waiting-list comparison group (C). Additional comparisons of the remaining groups are presented in Appendices D.2 and D.3.

Intervention Group

The classrooms receiving the social skills training program (both the S and the S + H groups) used the “My Friends and Me” curriculum. The program uses group activities and materials intended to enhance the personal identity and social development of preschool children. The following materials are included: an activity manual; hand puppets; magnets in geometric, human, and doll shapes; activity pictures of a classroom, a city, a single-family home, and a shopping center; an illustrated story book; song cards and recorded songs; an activity board and liquid-chalk pens; and 30 take-home activity sheets (for the school and at-home group). In the school-only group, children participated in 30 half-hour sessions conducted by their teacher over the course of four months. In the school and at-home group, children participated in 15 half-hour sessions conducted by their teacher and 15 additional sessions at home conducted by their parents.

Comparison Group

Children in the comparison group (C) participated in special arts and crafts projects for the 30 half-hour sessions. These children may have received incidental social skills training.

Outcome descriptions

The primary outcomes in this study were in the cognition and socio-emotional development and behavior domains. One outcome was assessed in the cognition domain: (a) the Comprehension subtest of the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence–Revised (WPPSI-R). Five outcomes were assessed in the socio-emotional development and behavior domain: (a) Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales Classroom Edition–Socialization domain (VABS-C); (b) Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales Interview Edition, Survey Form–Socialization domain (VABS-I); (c) the Child Behavior Checklist for Ages 4–16 and 2–3, teachers’ ratings (CBCLT 4–16; CBCLT 2–3); (d) the Child Behavior Checklist for Ages 4–16 and 2–3, parents’ ratings (CBCLP 4–16; CBCLP 2–3); (e) the Face Recognition subtest of the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children (K-ABC). For a more detailed description of these outcome measures, see Appendix B.8

Support for implementation

Two workshops were held to train teachers and parents (for the school and at-home group) on the “My Friends and Me” intervention.

 

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