University of Oulu

Kylliäinen, A., Häkkinen, S., Eränen, S., Rantanen, K., Ebeling, H., Bölte, S. & Helminen, T. M. (2020). Social competence group intervention (SOCO) for children with autism spectrum disorder: A pilot study. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 61(6), 835–845,

Social competence group intervention (SOCO) for children with autism spectrum disorder : a pilot study

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Author: Kylliäinen, Anneli1; Häkkinen, Satu2; Eränen, Sanelma1;
Organizations: 1Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Tampere University, Tampere, Finland
2Ludus Oy Tutkimus ja kuntoutuspalvelut, Mäkitorpantie 3 B, Helsinki, FI‐00620 Finland
3Department of Pediatrics, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland
4Pedego Research Unit, Clinic of Child Psychiatry, University of Oulu and Oulu University Hospital, Finland
5Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Center of Neurodevelopmental Disorders at Karolinska Institutet (KIND), Division of Neuropsychiatry, Center for Psychiatry Research Karolinska Institutet & Region Stockholm, Sweden
6Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Region Stockholm, Sweden
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-01-19


This study aimed to describe concept of social competence as a theoretical background for social skills group intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A model of social competence comprised of three components: social skills, social performance, and social adjustment. We also examined the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of the manualized Social Competence group intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder (SOCO) using a variety of outcome measures. The nine‐month intervention included children groups, parental support groups and co‐operation with teachers. A pilot study involved 23 children aged 7 to 12 years (n = 16 intervention, n = 7 control) and intervention outcomes were measured with questionnaires for parents and teachers, neuropsychological tests, and observations. The parents of the intervention group reported improvements in social skills and social adjustment, whereas the teachers reported increases in social performance. Findings also indicated that affect recognition skills, social overtures, and reactions to peers were improved in the intervention group. Although the evidence of the pilot study should be considered as preliminary, it gives some indication of the feasibility of the SOCO group intervention and supports the usability of the theoretical background and approach for multiple outcome measures.

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Series: Scandinavian journal of psychology
ISSN: 0036-5564
ISSN-E: 1467-9450
ISSN-L: 0036-5564
Volume: 61
Issue: 6
Pages: 835 - 845
DOI: 10.1111/sjop.12675
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 515 Psychology
Funding: This project was funded by South Karelia Social and Health Care District (Eksote), Academy of Finland (#326631; AK), the Yrjö Jahnson Foundation, the Foundation for Pediatric Research, the Finnish Cultural Foundation, and the Arvo and Lea Ylppö Foundation.
Copyright information: © 2020 The Authors. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology published by Scandinavian Psychological Associations and John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.