Self-regulated reasoning on social interactions in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractAcademic


It can be very challenging for practitioners to talk with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), especially when the conversation calls for self-regulation.
Autonomy as a basic psychological need that fosters competence is the key to self-regulated reasoning (SRR), since it helps children to know how to regulate interactions with others. Little is known about how autonomy influences competence in SRR of children with ASD. Central question in this study was: to what extent can autonomy provided scaffolding elicit high levels of SRR on social interactions over time? We used interaction data of three session between one special needs child and a practitioner, contextualized by a set of animated SRR, DSM-5 based items. Interaction variables were child’s level of SRR and practitioner’s level of provided autonomy.
Results showed large proportions of high-level provided autonomy in all sessions and a decline of this level in last session. SRR improved significantly each session. When exploring the dynamics of the micro-data we found contingency over time and feedback-loops of high- level provided autonomy and high-level SRR. Since the child showed a significant improvement of SRR over time, our research question provides a promising perspective. Sessions positively affected SRR of the child with ASD and the role of the practitioner in autonomy provided scaffolding has been very important. Contrary to what one might expect in autism spectrum disorders, providing autonomy supported the performance of the child. These outcomes underline the relevance of giving a voice to children with a diagnose in the spectrum of autism.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2020
EventEARLI SIG 10, 21 & 25 Conference 2020 - online
Duration: 1 Jul 20203 Jul 2020


ConferenceEARLI SIG 10, 21 & 25 Conference 2020
Internet address


  • autism
  • autism spectrum disorder
  • self-regulation
  • reasoning
  • social interactions
  • complex dynamic systems approach


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