The Double Interview Task: Assessing the Social Communication of Children with Asperger Syndrome

Procedure

Parent Questionnaire

Legal guardians of each of the participants were asked to complete a questionnaire in order to provide more information about their son or daughter. The questionnaire was completed while the double interview task was being conducted (see Appendix C). Some of the information requested on the questionnaire included the child's grade, age, diagnosis(s), who made the diagnosis(s), and the date diagnosed. Other information included a description of the child's communication and social skills, as well as whether or not the child had received or was currently receiving services by a speech-language pathologist, or if the child had ever attended a social skills group. If the answer was "yes" to either of the last two questions, they were then asked to provide more information such as describing current goals and objectives if the child was receiving services, or describing the date, setting, duration, and topics covered during a social skills group.

Assent

The principal investigator conducted the Double Interview Task with 20 participants. The investigator followed the assent procedures and protocol. See Appendix D for the assent and Double Interview procedure used by the investigator. The assent procedures provided an overview of the double interview task, gave an approximate duration of the interview task, and informed the participants that if they didn't feel like answering any questions, they didn't have to, and they could stop talking with the interviewer at anytime. The participants were also told that that the interviewer would be happy to answer any questions they had prior to the interview task or during the interview task. They were then asked if they wanted to participate in the interview. The participants were told that he or she would be interviewed first and then it would be their turn to interview the investigator. A check-list was created and followed to ensure that each participant was provided the same information, asked the same questions, and given the same cues when needed.

Double Interview Task

Interview questions were taken directly from the Double Interview Task (Winner, 2002). The Double Interview Task questions explore concepts such as the quality of the child's friendships, the intensity of their interests, how much they are aware of the people they live with, and the social relationships within their community. After the investigator finished the interview, she verbally summarized the information she learned about the participant. The participant was told that the investigator learned a lot about them, but they didn't know much about the investigator. They were then told it was their turn to learn about the investigator by asking her questions.

Picture identification task.

Prior to beginning the interview of investigator, the participants were asked to make inferences about three pictures that the investigator provided. The first picture showed the investigator with her family. The participant was asked who he or she thought the people in the picture were. Picture number two showed the investigator with a group of friends. The participant was asked why he or she thought the investigator had a picture of these people. After it was revealed that the people in the picture were the investigators friends, the participant was asked what about the picture made him or her think that the people in the picture were friends. Finally, the third picture showed the investigator with a friend. Participants were asked who he or she thought the people in the third picture were. After the people in the third picture were identified as the investigator and her good friend or best friend, the participant was asked what about the picture made him or her think that the people in the picture were good friends. Pictures were shown in the same order to all participants. The meaning of each picture was reviewed before the student was asked to interview the investigator.

Student interview.

After the picture identification task, the student was again told that they would be asked to conduct an interview of the investigator. It was explained that an interview is a time when one person asks questions about the other person in order to find out more about them, and the job of the interviewer is only to ask questions that give information about the other person. The participants were then provided with a list of questions words to assist them in the task. See Appendix E for the list of question words. The participants were reminded that any of the three pictures could be used to think of questions about the investigator. At this time they were told that it was time for the interview of the investigator to start.

Cueing hierarchy.

A cueing hierarchy as described by Winner, (2002) was used to provide the necessary support to participants. Cues were given when students were only able to produce a limited number of interview questions for the investigator, and were unable to formulate another question. Support was provided from the least facilitating cue through the most facilitating cue. See Table 2 for a description of the cues provided.

Table 2

Cues Provided

The following hierarchy of cues was used:

[CP1]
The researcher drew 4 boxes across a piece of paper to provide a visual framework of how many questions the student is to ask before the task is discontinued.

[CP2]
The researcher pointed to the pictures on the table and reminded the student that he or she could use the information to ask questions of the researcher.

[CP3]
The researcher directed the student to a specific topic that he/she could talk about.