This study developed and evaluated a social skills training program for institutionalized mildly or moderately retarded and dually diagnosed individuals. Social skills were conceptualized as requiring an action or reaction within six skill areas: compliments, social interactions, politeness, criticism, social confrontation, and questions/answers. The program taught social skills using a commercially available table game, Sorry, and a specially designed card deck. Each card represented one of the skill areas and was designed to train either an actor or reactor response. The program featured response specific feedback, self-monitoring, individualized reinforcers, and individualized performance criterion levels. A multiple baseline across two groups (N = 3 per group) revealed that the game contingencies increased social skills in all targeted areas. After training, the subjects displayed their newly learned skills at or above their trained levels in two different settings with novel persons present. Although untargeted, the complexity of the subjects' responses increased across conditions, since there was a steady increase in the number of words they used per response. The program appears to be a viable means of training social skills since it uses standardized training procedures, requires only one facilitator, and is in itself a social situation that may encourage interactions with peers, cooperation, competition, and politeness.
Document Type: Journal Article
ISSN Print: 0021-8855