The Impact of an Intervention on Social Skills of Young Children with Prenatal Alcohol Exposure

  • Author / Creator
    Regehr, Elise
  • FASD is an umbrella term used to describe the continuum of effects that result from prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) on the developing brain, which causes a multitude of behavioural impairments, including deficits in adaptive behaviours such as social skills. Although there are many interventions designed to help prevent the negative outcomes for children that result from impaired social skills for many clinical populations there is a dearth of intervention research for children with PAE or with an FASD. Therefore, the current study aimed to first, gather more information of the social profile of children with PAE or with an FASD, as well as factors that could impact social functioning and secondly, examine the effectiveness of a brief (10 half hour sessions) individualized social skills intervention for children with PAE or with an FASD. At pre-test, twenty-nine participants (14 male and 15 female; 17 with PAE and 11 with an FASD) aged 4 to 10 (M=7 years, 6 months) partook in the study (post-testing data was unavailable for one participant). Participant’s social skills and problem behaviours were evaluated and then compared to demographic information. To examine the effectiveness of the social skills intervention children with PAE or with an FASD in the social skills (n=14) were compared to matched participants in a comparison intervention (n=14). The results suggest that on average participants had significant social skills impairments and problem behaviours with a specific pattern of social skills strengths (cooperation and reduced bullying) and weaknesses (responsibility and hyperactivity). These difficulties were not significantly related to factors such as number of home placements, IQ, age, SES, sex or diagnosis. Following the social skills intervention, children’s problem behaviours decreased however, these effects when compared to the comparison intervention approached significance. Knowledge of how their social skills profile differs from other clinical populations may aid in differentiating these children from other clinical populations as well as providing tailored interventions for this population. However, more intervention research needs to be conducted to determine how to support optimal development for this population.

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  • Degree
    Master of Education
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