Subscribe: Autism current issue
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade B rated
Language: English
autism spectrum  autism  children autism  children  disorder  social skills  social  spectrum disorder  spectrum  training 
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
Preview: Autism current issue

Autism current issue

Autism RSS feed -- current issue


A systematic review of the behavioural outcomes following exercise interventions for children and youth with autism spectrum disorder


The purpose of this review was to systematically search and critically analyse the literature pertaining to behavioural outcomes of exercise interventions for individuals with autism spectrum disorder aged <=16 years. This systematic review employed a comprehensive peer-reviewed search strategy, two-stage screening process and rigorous critical appraisal, which resulted in the inclusion of 13 studies. Results demonstrated that exercise interventions consisting individually of jogging, horseback riding, martial arts, swimming or yoga/dance can result in improvements to numerous behavioural outcomes including stereotypic behaviours, social-emotional functioning, cognition and attention. Horseback riding and martial arts interventions may produce the greatest results with moderate to large effect sizes, respectively. Future research with well-controlled designs, standardized assessments, larger sample sizes and longitudinal follow-ups is necessary, in addition to a greater focus on early childhood (aged 0–5 years) and adolescence (aged 12–16 years), to better understand the extent of the behavioural benefits that exercise may provide these populations.

Obesity and associated factors in youth with an autism spectrum disorder


Weight status on children and youth with autism spectrum disorder is limited. We examined the prevalence of overweight/obesity in children and youth with autism spectrum disorder, and associations between weight status and range of factors. Children and youth with autism spectrum disorder aged 2–16 years (n = 208) and their parents participated in this study. Body mass index was calculated using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention growth charts and the International Obesity Task Force body mass index cut-offs. The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule was administered. Parents completed questionnaires about socio-demographics, diagnosed comorbidities, sleep disturbances, social functioning and medication of youth with autism spectrum disorder. The prevalence of overweight/obesity in participants with autism spectrum disorder was 35%. One quarter of obese children and youth (25.6%) had obese parents. There was a significant association between children and youth’s body mass index and maternal body mass index (r = 0.25, n = 199, p < 0.001). The gender and age, parental education, family income, ethnicity, autism spectrum disorder severity, social functioning, psychotropic and complementary medication use of children and youth with autism spectrum disorder were not statistically associated with their weight status. Findings suggest the need for clinical settings to monitor weight status of children and youth with autism spectrum disorder in a bid to manage or prevent overweight/obesity in this population. Incorporating a family system approach to influence health behaviours among children and youth with autism spectrum disorder especially for specific weight interventions is warranted and should be further explored.

First evidence of the feasibility of gaze-contingent attention training for school children with autism


A number of authors have suggested that attention control may be a suitable target for cognitive training in children with autism spectrum disorder. This study provided the first evidence of the feasibility of such training using a battery of tasks intended to target visual attentional control in children with autism spectrum disorder within school-based settings. Twenty-seven children were recruited and randomly assigned to either training or an active control group. Of these, 19 completed the initial assessment, and 17 (9 trained and 8 control) completed all subsequent training sessions. Training of 120 min was administered per participant, spread over six sessions (on average). Compliance with the training tasks was generally high, and evidence of within-task training improvements was found. A number of untrained tasks to assess transfer of training effects were administered pre- and post-training. Changes in the trained group were assessed relative to an active control group. Following training, significant and selective changes in visual sustained attention were observed. Trend training effects were also noted on disengaging visual attention, but no convincing evidence of transfer was found to non-trained assessments of saccadic reaction time and anticipatory looking. Directions for future development and refinement of these new training techniques are discussed.

School-based social skills training for preschool-age children with autism spectrum disorder


Individuals with autism spectrum disorder display impairments in social interactions and communication that appear at early ages and result in short- and long-term negative outcomes. As such, there is a need for effective social skills training programs for young children with autism spectrum disorder—particularly interventions capable of being delivered in educational settings. The study evaluated the effects of the Superheroes Social Skills program on accurate demonstration of social skills in young children with autism spectrum disorder. Two preschool-age children with autism spectrum disorder participated in a weekly social skills intervention. A multiple probe design across skills was used to determine the effects of the intervention. Both participants demonstrated substantial improvements in skill accuracy. Social skills checklists also indicated improvements in social functioning over baseline levels.

Predicting social and communicative ability in school-age children with autism spectrum disorder: A pilot study of the Social Attribution Task, Multiple Choice


The Social Attribution Task, Multiple Choice is introduced as a measure of implicit social cognitive ability in children, addressing a key challenge in quantification of social cognitive function in autism spectrum disorder, whereby individuals can often be successful in explicit social scenarios, despite marked social adaptive deficits. The 19-question Social Attribution Task, Multiple Choice, which presents ambiguous stimuli meant to elicit social attribution, was administered to children with autism spectrum disorder (N = 23) and to age-matched and verbal IQ–matched typically developing children (N = 57). The Social Attribution Task, Multiple Choice performance differed between autism spectrum disorder and typically developing groups, with typically developing children performing significantly better than children with autism spectrum disorder. The Social Attribution Task, Multiple Choice scores were positively correlated with age (r = 0.474) while being independent from verbal IQ (r = 0.236). The Social Attribution Task, Multiple Choice was strongly correlated with Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales Communication (r = 0.464) and Socialization (r = 0.482) scores, but not with Daily Living Skills scores (r = 0.116), suggesting that the implicit social cognitive ability underlying performance on the Social Attribution Task, Multiple Choice is associated with real-life social adaptive function.

Socioeconomic status and intelligence quotient as predictors of psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder and in their siblings


Previous studies have shown high rates of comorbid disorders in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder, but failed to compare them with general population and few of them have identified predictors of comorbidity. This study compared the rates of psychiatric disorders in 50 children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder, 24 of their siblings, 32 controls from general population and 22 of their siblings. Children and adolescent with autism spectrum disorder and their siblings had higher rates of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder compared to controls. Lower socioeconomic status and intelligence quotient were the main risk factors. The contribution of socioeconomic status and intelligence quotient to increase the risk of developing comorbidity in autism spectrum disorder and psychopathology in their siblings deserves further study.

The impact of maternal, child, and family characteristics on the daily well-being and parenting experiences of mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder


This study utilized a daily diaries method to explore the global factors that impact daily general affect and daily parenting interactions of mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder. Eighty-three mothers of a child with autism spectrum disorder between the ages of 3 and 13 years completed global assessments of maternal depressive symptoms, child autism spectrum disorder symptom severity, and family functioning. Mothers then reported on their daily negative and positive affect as well as their daily positive and frustrating parenting interactions for 14 consecutive days. The results indicated that higher levels of maternal depressive symptoms were related to decreased daily positive affect, whereas greater child social motivation impairments were related to increased daily positive affect. Only maternal depressive symptoms were associated with increased daily negative affect. Furthermore, higher levels of family cohesion were related to increased daily positive parenting interactions. Finally, higher maternal depressive symptoms as well as family rigidity were related to increased daily frustrating parenting interactions. Implications for interventions focused on the family system are discussed.

Parent and health care provider perspectives related to disclosure of autism spectrum disorder in pediatric emergency departments


Children and youth with autism spectrum disorder presenting in emergency departments face potential cognitive, sensory, and behavioral challenges, and it is crucial for providers to be aware of their unique needs. However, disclosure of a child’s autism spectrum disorder can be complex for parental caregivers and is not well understood. This qualitative study utilized a grounded theory approach and analyzed data from 28 parents and 16 health care providers related to autism spectrum disorder disclosure within two Canadian pediatric emergency departments. Study results indicated that participants identified benefits and risks of disclosure. Encouraging understanding, expediting service, and preparing health care providers for working with children with autism spectrum disorder were identified as benefits of disclosure. Risks related to disclosure included potential negative attributions toward the children and parental discomfort in disclosing a diagnosis in front of the children. Parents discussed the health care encounters they experienced following disclosure and provided recommendations for improving the disclosure process in the emergency department. It is recommended that future research explore the experiences of parents who choose not to disclose their child’s autism spectrum disorder. Greater awareness of the disclosure experience and the development of resources and tools to support communication between parents and health care providers are also recommended.

Social skills group training in high-functioning autism: A qualitative responder study


Systematic reviews show some evidence for the efficacy of group-based social skills group training in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder, but more rigorous research is needed to endorse generalizability. In addition, little is known about the perspectives of autistic individuals participating in social skills group training. Using a qualitative approach, the objective of this study was to examine experiences and opinions about social skills group training of children and adolescents with higher functioning autism spectrum disorder and their parents following participation in a manualized social skills group training ("KONTAKT"). Within an ongoing randomized controlled clinical trial (NCT01854346) and based on outcome data from the Social Responsiveness Scale, six high responders and five low-to-non-responders to social skills group training and one parent of each child (N = 22) were deep interviewed. Interestingly, both high responders and low-to-non-responders (and their parents) reported improvements in social communication and related skills (e.g. awareness of own difficulties, self-confidence, independence in everyday life) and overall treatment satisfaction, although more positive intervention experiences were expressed by responders. These findings highlight the added value of collecting verbal data in addition to quantitative data in a comprehensive evaluation of social skills group training.

Contingent imitation increases verbal interaction in children with autism spectrum disorders


Several studies have suggested that contingent adult imitation increase nonverbal communication, such as attention and proximity to adults, in children with autism spectrum disorders. However, few studies have shown the effect of contingent imitation on verbal communication. This study examined whether children with autism were able to promote verbal interaction such as vocal imitation, vocalization, and vocal turn-taking via contingent imitation. We used an alternating treatment design composed of the conditions of contingent imitation and control for six children with autism (aged 33–63 months). For contingent imitation condition, adults imitated children’s vocalization immediately. For control condition, adults did not imitate but gave a vocal response immediately. Results showed that in contingent imitation condition, all children increased the number of vocal imitations and vocal turn-takings compared with control condition. The number of vocalizations increased in both condition for all children. Overall, it is suggested that all children promote verbal interaction via contingent imitation.

Lay abstracts