Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder characterized primarily by social skills deficits that can impair the individual’s ability to develop and maintain meaningful relationships. Research has shown that social skills training provides lasting improvement in social interactions. However, many factors can hinder the availability of intervention groups outside of major metropolitan areas. Individual online social skills interventions have been shown to translate to increases in everyday social skills, and while further investigation is required, current literature suggests that there is great potential for live, interactive online social skills groups to provide similar benefits to in-person intervention groups. Thus, online groups may be one solution to the barriers to accessing available resources. This study sought to explore the feasibility of conducting a live, interactive online social skills group by comparing two groups using the same curriculum; one in-person group that met in a lab on a local college campus, and one piloted online group that met through Zoom, a video conference platform, each for 14 weeks. Each group also participated in person in social activities on campus to gather preliminary generalization data. The online intervention was acceptable to therapists and participants, and a group of therapists who implemented both delivery models reported some advantages and disadvantages of an online format for social skills, expressing a preference for in-person delivery model when possible, but acceptability of online delivery where in-person groups are not available. The online model showed somewhat lower levels of participation, but slightly higher attendance rates than the in-person model. Understanding both the advantages and disadvantages to online social skills, clinicians can utilize the method the best fits their needs.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Counseling Psychology and Special Education



Date Submitted


Document Type





autism, autism intervention, social skills, communication learning, PEERS® curriculum, telehealth



Included in

Education Commons