MacCormack, Jeffrey

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    An exploration of a community-based LEGO social-skills program for youth with autism spectrum disorder
    (Western University, 2015) MacCormack, Jeffrey W. H.; Matheson, Ian A.; Hutchinson, Nancy L.
    Clinical interventions have been effective at increasing social skills of youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, generalization of those skills to non-clinical environments is often low. To reduce this generalization gap, community-based programs have been designed to help youth develop social skills in naturalistic settings. This paper describes a community-based social-skills intervention for youths with ASD aged 7–12, which was designed to build on the findings of a previous study. In this program, youths with ASD co-operated with siblings and peers in structured and unstructured play over the course of four weeks. The researchers conducted extensive observations of the play by the youths and conducted interviews with the youths with ASD, their parents, and program staff. Both in our observations and in the perceptions of the parents, the youths with ASD increased their play and socialization. Using Vygotsky’s (1978) socio-cultural theory as a guiding framework, we describe the components of this intervention that contributed to the changes observed in the youths’ play and social interactions. We developed a model that includes components of instruction, interest, playbased learning, and the structure of program, and which provides an explanation of intervention effectiveness to be explored in future research.  
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    What youths with autism spectrum disorder and their parents want from social competence programs
    (Western University, 2017) MacCormack, Jeffrey W. H.
    Program designers develop a wide range of intervention programs to address the social challenges faced by children and youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) but it is not clear how those programs are perceived by families of youth with ASD and the extent to which those programs are accessed. To explore the perceptions of families of youth with ASD, 12 youths with ASD and 15 of their parents participated in 45– 60 minute interviews about social intervention programs and completed the Social Responsiveness Scale, Second Edition. According to the families, the social programs created to help youth with ASD to socialize have not addressed their needs. The adolescents sought programs that provided activities that matched their interests and that were appropriate for their developmental stage. The parents reported that they were frustrated by barriers to service and weaknesses of design, which were obstacles to accessing programs that supported their children’s development.