Description: Typically, between 3 and 6 children are grouped together in an instructional setting on the basis of similarity in a particular skill domain such as academic, language, or social skills for small group instruction. Small group instruction can consist of individuals modeling and/or imitating each other’s actions, taking turns, or responding in unison.

Research Summary: Several studies have indicated that small-group instruction can be effective for individuals with autism, especially when used with other empirically validated teaching methods such as choral responding and direct instruction.

Recommendations: The use of small group instruction may be an effective teaching procedure for children with autism but additional research is needed to determine under which specific conditions the instruction will be maximally effective.

Selected References:

Systematic reviews of scientific studies:

Rotholz, D.A., (1990). Current considerations on the use of one-to-one instruction with autistic students: Review and recommendations. Focus on Autistic Behavior, 5(3), 1-6.

Individual experimental studies:

Kamps, D., Walker, D., Locke, P., Delquadri, J., & Hall, R. V. (1990). A comparison of one-to-one instruction by peers, one-to-one instruction by adults, and small group instruction with children with autism. Education and Treatment of Children, 12, 197-215.

Kamps, D.M., Dugan, E.P. & Leonard, B.R. (1994). Enhanced small group instruction using choral responding and student interaction for children with autism and developmental disabilities. American Journal on Mental Retardation, 99(1), 60-73.

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