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Social and Relationship Assessment

Educational settings—the cafeteria, the playground, classrooms, and hallways—present multiple social skills requirements that may overwhelm the student with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Overview of Instruments

Students with challenges in this area may find themselves isolated, misunderstood, frustrated, anxious, or depressed. Others in their environment may perceive their social differences as an indication that they are rude, willful, awkward, or oppositional. Further, as these students transition from high school, social differences present challenges to successful employment, leisure, or relationship pursuits. Because of the pervasive impact of social differences, addressing social skills and social understanding is a critical part of the educational curriculum for all students with ASD.

It is important to have a benchmark of the social skills and social understanding of individuals with autism spectrum disorder in order to provide targeted interventions. Instruments designed specifically for this purpose are reviewed in this section.

The following social and relational assessments are reviewed in the TARGET:

  • Social Responsiveness Scale – Second Edition (SRS-2)
  • Autism Social Skills Profile (ASSP)
  • Profile Of Social Difficulty (POSD)
  • Social Skills Checklist
  • Social Skills Rating System (SSRS)

Research on Social and Relationship Assessment Instruments

To date, no research (besides the work in developing the tools) has been conducted pertaining to social assessment and autism spectrum disorder for the instruments reviewed in this section.

Misconceptions

Myth Reality
Individuals with ASD lack social interest. A trained and experienced evaluator will recognize that an individual with ASD may have friends or desire social interaction, yet not have the social understanding or social competence that would be expected at his or her age.
The best measure of an individual’s conversation skills is when she is discussing her special interests. Social skills appear more typical when the individual with autism spectrum disorder is discussing areas of strong interest. Social skills often look dramatically more impaired during spontaneous social interactions

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