Although caregiver-delivered social communication interventions have been considered scientifically proven practices for individuals with autism spectrum disorders, it is not well examined if these types of intervention modes are truly effective in promoting skill generalization and maintenance within those individuals with autism spectrum disorders.
The purpose of this meta-analysis was to evaluate the status of the extant literature regarding the measures on generalization and/or maintenance of effects of caregiver-delivered communication interventions for children with autism spectrum disorders.
METHODS AND PROCEDURES:
This systematic literature review and meta-analysis evaluated peer-reviewed research regarding the effects of caregiver-implemented interventions on the maintenance and generalization of the social-communication skills for children with autism spectrum disorders. A total of 34 articles were included following a systematic search. Articles were summarized according to the following categories: (a) generalization dimension, (b) generalization assessment design, (c) maintenance assessment design, (d) generalization/maintenance teaching strategy, and (e) latency to maintenance probes. After application of design standards, aggregate Tau-U and non-overlap of pairs effect sizes were calculated with a total of 67 separate contrasts across seven studies.
OUTCOMES AND RESULTS:
Overall, effect size scores ranged from small to large effects across all comparisons. On average, most of the baseline to maintenance and generalization comparisons produced moderate to large effects. Whereas, small to moderate or even deteriorate effects were found in most of the intervention to maintenance and generalization comparisons.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS:
The findings in this review suggest that caregiver-delivered social-communication interventions are likely to result in mixed effects on skill generalization and maintenance within children with autism spectrum disorders. Implications for future research and practice are discussed.
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