ness of this technique with young children has not yet been established (Norris and Dattilo, 1999).
Although the various programs based on behavioral treatment differ in a number of ways, behavioral work in the social arena is based on similar approaches. This grouping includes the program at the University of California at Los Angeles (Lovaas, 1987) and its various replications, as well as the Princeton program (McClannahan and Krantz, 1994). The first social interventions involve responses to a teacher, with interventions generally focusing on eye contact, imitation, and response to language. Play skills with toys are also taught. As children master speech and a number of other basic skills and appear ready to learn in group settings, behavioral techniques from the “shadow” teacher support interactions with peers. In these approaches, social skills are taught directly, like any other skill, through establishment of an antecedent-behavior-consequence chain.
More recently developed approaches, like the Walden Program (McGee et al., 1999) and the Learning Experiences, Alternative Program (LEAP) approach (Kohler et al., 1997; Strain et al., 1996) have used more naturalistic behavioral teaching to develop peer interactions and communication skills. Both approaches, as well as the pivotal response training approach described by Koegel and colleagues (1999), carefully apply behavioral teaching paradigms embedded in natural or naturalistic social interactions to focus on social development as the primary thrust of the intervention.
In Greenspan and Wieder’s Developmental Intervention model (Greenspan et al., 1997) interventions are built on “circles of communication,” reciprocal social interactions with adults that over time increase the length and complexity of social interactions. These are child-centered— built on children’s spontaneous behavior and adult responses that are carefully fit to children’s current developmental and communicative capacities. Positive emotional valence is highly valued. This model has been evaluated in one large review of records (Greenspan et al., 1997).