This study evaluated the effects of a peer-mediated intervention on the social play and engagement of students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Twenty students with ASD and typically developing peers participated in a systematic social skills intervention during Kindergarten and First Grade, completing standardized social probes designed to measure unstructured social interactions independent of the instructional intervention sessions. Rates of engagement with typically developing peers during baseline and post-intervention social probes were measured using a hierarchical scale of social play and engagement. Analysis focused on improvements in the observed rates of social behaviors, including increases in cooperative forms of play, decreases in solitary or unengaged forms of play, and identifying unique within-session patterns of responding across different states of engagement. Implications for the design of social skills interventions and measurement of social play behaviors are discussed.
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