The article “Social Skills Groups for Asperger’s Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified” represents a research study developed by Jacqueline Countryman, focusing on social skills therapy meant to be applied on children diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorders (PDD).
The content of the article is consistent with the research area. Specific concepts and notions are described with accuracy, using the existent literature but also the underpinned study for exemplifying in what the PDD consists in and how it can be addressed in a therapy setting, or from each other, in a social group.
The article resumes several researches already developed and their results. From these literature references there can be perceived the actual processes implemented in other researches to approach the patients with PDD syndrome in different situations: making eye contact or saluting a new person, interacting with other people, despite acoustic disorders, engaging in conversations, dealing with negative emotions, play skills or theory of mind, among others.
The result of the existent literature that have studied PDD cases indicated that there are various social skills approaches on PDD patients and the children respond well in a laboratory setting. Nevertheless, when it comes to generalizing the skills learned through various exercises in a natural setting, this task continues to be challenging.
Introducing the “Case Example”, the author starts to present the underpinned practical research for her study. The case example follows Ben, an Asperger’s disorder patient of 10 years, who is analyzed in a natural setting (in the playground) while he is practicing the social skills through a role play exercise. One year later Ben’s parents reported that this method was going slow, but that it was efficient, because the boy made a friend. The strength of this practical research is that the parents can learn the technique and practice with their children suffering from Asperger’s disorder in other natural settings, increasing their concentration and social abilities to interact.
The section “Practice Point: Start with Simplistic Topics and Review Often” has also a practical role, since it offers actual recommendations for the people handling patients with Asperger’s disorder how to handle the patients. It points out that the old symptoms of not making eye contact can regress if not practiced on a regular basis. The active listening social skill was also proved to be a significant aspect for the children with Asperger’s disorder and it also required continuous training, as it was demonstrated through a group exercise, where Ben was again subjected to an analysis.
The article includes a “Summary” section that briefly states the findings of the study and also the recommendation for the practical approach of Asperger’s disorder patients, who need to be surrounded by clinicians and caregivers for efficient results in improving the quality of life.
Overall, the article is comprehensive and accurate. Although it treats a specific psychological matter and it addresses clinicians and caregivers familiar with the disorder, it sets an easy language, which makes the text easy to be read. In addition, the article’s main strength stays in its practical approach to Asperger’s disorder and the case example is edifying for how to treat a patient with this disorder.
Countryman, J. (2008) “Social skills groups for asperger’s disorder and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified”. Psychiatry (Edgmont).Vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 42 – 47.