Study designs of evaluations included in the review
Empirical investigations were eligible for inclusion.
Specific interventions included in the review
Studies of interventions aimed at increasing social interaction were eligible for inclusion. The included studies were of skills-based interventions such as social skills training and self-management and social interaction instruction, and support-based interventions such as peer training or support and general education class participation support. In most of the studies the intervention was implemented by a researcher.
Participants included in the review
Studies where at least half of the participants had an intellectual disability (as defined by the authors) and where they were receiving special education services in a secondary school setting were eligible for inclusion. People with secondary disabilities such as autism or health impairment were also included, but only where this was accompanied by intellectual disability. The participants were male and female and were aged from 11 to 22 years. Fifty-eight per cent of the participants had a sole label of intellectual disability. In the majority of the included studies the setting was outside general education classrooms, such as in cafeterias, special education classrooms and hallways. It was stated that the participants in the included studies had zero rates of social interaction at baseline, though specific details were not provided. All of the studies appeared to have been conducted in the USA.
Outcomes assessed in the review
Studies were eligible for inclusion where the outcome of interest was a measure of social interaction, obtained using direct observation techniques, between a student with intellectual disability and a general education peer for at least half of the participants. The included studies used direct observation sessions ranging from 3 minutes to the whole school day. The length of observation tended to be substantially shorter for studies of skills-based interventions than for those of support-based interventions.
How were decisions on the relevance of primary studies made?
The authors did not state how the papers were selected for the review, or how many reviewers performed the selection.