A new study at the University of Manchester aims to see whether social communication skills can be not only learned better but also transferred between home and school by rooting both parents and teachers in the same training methods, interaction sets, and shared goals.
Children with autism have trouble with transferring learned skills from one context to another which means that certain learned skills can become rooted in the comfort of home life but the same learned skills are unable to translate into their environment because of the stress of the new context of their surroundings. The idea is that by having the parents and teachers using the same techniques, taught by the researchers, and routinely keeping steady communication with each other, the children will recognize the similarity in training between teachers and parents and be able to more easily learn the skills and generalize said skills into both domains of home and school.
Through this study, researchers will be able to make important conclusions about how children on the spectrum generalize concepts and in what way these are best translated to every aspect of their social lives. This, in turn, will help the researchers find the best methods to aid in the overall development of children with autism.
As with anyone learning anything, we must remember that children with autism are most prone to learn when it feels applicable to their own life and relevant to the context of each particular interaction. Lead psychiatrist, Professor Johnathon Green, knows that the results will take a few years to unfold but he hopes “to form interventions that build on each other through development to improve the lives of these children and their families.”