Research for Young Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders: Evidence of Social and Ecological Validity

Jennifer R. Ledford, Emilie Hall, Emily Conder, Justin D. Lane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


The social and ecological validity of a body of research may impact the degree to which interventions will be used outside of research contexts. The purpose of this review was to determine the extent to which social and ecological validity were demonstrated for interventions designed to increase social skills for young children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Results indicated that although the percentage of studies including social validity assessment has remained stable over the 20-year review period, subjective assessments of social validity have increased and objective assessments have decreased. Acceptability was measured more often than feasibility or importance. Approximately half of the studies included indigenous implementers, typical social partners, or typical settings. Suggestions include additional research on the validity of measures, explicit reporting by researchers, and the use of multiple, objective, and psychometrically sound social validity assessments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-233
Number of pages11
JournalTopics in Early Childhood Special Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was funded in part by grant #R324B130014 from the Institute of Education Sciences.


  • consumer satisfaction
  • ecological validity
  • social validity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Research for Young Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders: Evidence of Social and Ecological Validity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this