Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer
Projects and researches
Published: 2020-05-31

Social integration of children with and without ASD in their first school year

University of Bucharest
ASD social skills child-teacher relationship child-peer relationship school inclusion


The present research presents the results of a cross-sectional study on the relationships among developmental level at the beggining of the first school year, interpersonal relationships, and social abilities at the end of the first school year, in children with and without ASD. The participants were 120 children, 60 diagnosed with ASD and 60 with typical development aged 6 to 7 years, M = 6.27, AS = .20, of which 78 boys (65%) and 42 girls (35%). The instrument used for the measurement of developmental level was Portage Psychomotor Development Scale (Bluma et al., 1976), social skills were measured with 17 items of the Social Skills Rating System (SSRS) (Gresham & Elliott, 1990), and the quality of relationships with others was measured with four items of the Sense of Relatedness Questionnaire (Furrer& Skinner, 2003).  Two hierarchical regression analyses were ran, with three steps each. The results showed that child-peer relationship and also child-teacher relationship could diminish the effects of being diagnosed with ASD and also of developmental level on social skills. Practical implications were discussed. Our results support the importance of early interventions for children with ASD as a means to contribute to the developmental level of children with ASD, comparable with children without ASD.


Bauminger, N., &Kasari, C. (2000). Loneliness and friendship in high-functioning children with autism. Child Development, 71(2), 447–456.
Bluma, S., Shearer, M., Frohman, A., Hilliard, J. (1976). Portage guide to early education. Wisconsin: Portage Project.
Bourdieu, P. (1991). Language and symbolic power. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Britto, R. B. (2012). School Readiness: a conceptual framework. Retrieved on 10.08.2019 at:
Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development: Experiments by nature and design. Massachusetts, USA: Harvard University Press.
Burrell, A., Bubb, S. (2000). Teacher feedback in the reception class: associations with children’s pozitive adjustment to school. Education, 28(3), 58-69.
Campbell Clark, S. (2000). Work/family border theory: A new theory of work/family balance. Human Relations, 53(6), 747-770.
Dugan, E., Kamps, D., Leonard, B., Watkins, N., Rheinberger, A., &Stackhaus, J. (1995). Effects of cooperative learning groups during social studies for students with autism and fourth grade peers. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 28, 175 – 188.
Dunlop, A-W. A., Fabian, H. (eds.) (2003). Transitions. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, Themed Monograph 1.
Eisenhower, A. S., Blacher, J., Bush, H. H. (2015). Longitudinal associations between externalizing problems and student-teacher relationship quality for young children with ASD. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 9, 163-173. doi: 10.1016/j.rasd.2014.09.007
Elder, G. H. Jr. (2001). Families, social change, and individual lives. Marriage and Family Review, 31(1/2), 177-192.
Fabian, H., Dunlop, A-W. A. (2002). Inter-connexions. Early Years Matters, vol. 2. Glasgow, Scotland: Learning and Teaching Scotland.
Fabian, H., Dunlop, A-W. A. (2002). Children Starting School: A guide to successful transitions and transfers for teachers and assistants. London, UK: Routlege Falmer.
Fabian, H., Dunlop, A-W. A. (2005). The importance of play in the transition to school. In J.R. Moyles (ed.), The excellence of play, second edition. Berkshire, UK: Open University Press/McGraw-Hill.
Fontil, L., Petrakos, H. H. (2015). Transition to school: The experiences of Canadian and immigrant families of children with autism spectrum disorders. Psychology in the Schools, 52, 773-788. Doi: 10.1002/pits.21859
Frederickson, N. L., & Furnham, A. F. (1998). Sociometric classification methods in school peer groups: A comparative investigation. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 39, 921-934.
Furrer, C., & Skinner, E. A. (2003). Sense of relatedness as a factor in children’s academic engagement and performance. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95, 148 –162.
Gillham, J. E., Carter, A. S., Volkmar, F. R., & Sparrow, S. S. (2000). Toward a developmental operational definition of autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 30, 269–278.
Gresham, F. M., & Elliot, S. N. (1990). Social skills rating system manual. Circle Pines, MN: AmericanGuidance Service.
Jordan, R. (2005). Autistic spectrum disorders. În A. Lewis & B. Norwich (eds), Special teaching for special children?, pp. 110–22. Buckingham: Open University Press.
Katz, E., &Girolametto, L. (2013). Peer-mediated intervention for preschoolers with ASD implemented in early childhood education settings. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 33(3), 133–143.
Kelly, A.B., Garnett, M.S., Attwood, T. et al. (2008). Autism Spectrum Symptomatology in Children: The Impact of Family and Peer Relationships. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 36, 1069.
Kennedy, C. H. (2002). The maintenance of behavior change as an indicator of social validity. Behavior Modification, 26, 594–604.
Koegel, R., Kim, S., Koegel, L., & Schwartzman, B. (2013). Improving socialization for high school students with ASD by using their preferred interests. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43, 2121–2134.
Liss, M., Harel, B., Fein, D., Allen, D., Dunn, M., Feinstein, C., Morris, R., Waterhouse, L., Rapin, I. (2001). Predictors and correlates of adaptive functioning in children with developmental disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 31(2), 219–230.
Little, L. (2002). Middle-class mothers’ perceptions of peer and sibling victimization among children with Asperger’s syndrome and nonverbal learning disorders. Issues in Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing, 24, 43–57.
Marsh, A., Spagnol, V., Grove, R., Eapen, V. (2017). Transition to school for children with autism spectrum disorder: A systematic review. World Journal of Psychiatry, 7(3), 184-196. doi: 10.5498/wjp.v7.i3.184
Moore, C. (2007). Speaking as a parent: thoughts about educational inclusion for autistic children. În R. Cigman (ed.), Included or Excluded? The Challenge of Mainstream for Some SEN Children, pp. 34–41. London: Routledge.
Norwich, B. & Lewis, A. (2005). How specialised is teaching pupils with disabilities and difficulties? În A. Lewis & B. Norwich (eds), Special Teaching for Special Children?,pp. 1–14. Buckingham: Open University Press.
Prino, L. E., Pasta, T., Giovanna, F., Gastaldi, M., Longobardi, C. (2016). The effect of autism spectrum disorders, down syndrome, specific learningdisorders and hyperactivity and attention deficits on the studentteacher relationship. Electronic Journal of Research in Educational Psychology, 14, 89-106. doi: 10.14204/ejrep.38.15043
Sparapani, N., Morgan, L., Reinhardt, V. P., Schatschneider, C., Wetherby, A. M. (2016). Evaluation of Classroom Active Engagement in Elementary Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 46, 782-796. doi: 10.1007/s10803-015-2615-2
Tager-Flusberg, H., & Joseph, R. M. (2003). Identifying neurocognitive phenotypes in autism. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 358, 303-314.
Thibaut, J. W., & Kelley, H. H. (1959). The social Psychology of Groups. New York: Wiley.
UNESCO. (1994). The Salamanca statement and framework for action on special education. Paris: UNESCO.
van Gennep, A. (1960). Rites of passage. London, UK: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Watkins, L., O’Reilly, M., Kuhn, M., Gevarter, C., Lancioni, G. E., Sigafoos, J., Lang, R. (2015). A Review of Peer-Mediated Social Interaction Interventions for Students with Autism in Inclusive Settings. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. doi 10.1007/s10803-014-2264-x
Whitney, I., Smith, P. K., & Thompson, D. (1994). Bullying and children with special educational needs. În P. K. Smith & S. Sharp (eds), School Bullying: Insights and Perspectives, pp. 213–240. London: Routledge.
Wing, L. (2007). Children with autistic spectrum disorders. În R. Cigman (ed.), Included or Excluded? The Challenge of Mainstream for Some SEN Children, pp. 23–33. London: Routledge.

How to Cite

Pruteanu, A. F. (2020). Social integration of children with and without ASD in their first school year. Studia Doctoralia, 11(1), 4–16.