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ASD Interventions

Article: Functional Living Skills and Adolescents and Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Meta-Analysis. By Hong and others. In Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 2017, 52(3).

I THINK this article was about trying to identify empirically supported techniques for teaching independent living skills to ASD adolescents and adults. There is a lot of scientific rhetoric in this article, common to many such articles, and without daily exposure to the rhetoric, it confuses me. None the less, a conclusion is that video modeling (I've mentioned this before) is an effective treatment for individuals with Autism and co-morbid intellectual disabilities. This group is contrasted with individuals with Autism without intellectual disabilities, or people with Aspergers. We as a community are still trying to work out terminology for differentiating between these highly disparate groups since they took our word Aspergers away.

Of more use to a practitioner like me are the groups the researchers in this article use to perform all of their statistical operations. There must be groups because statistics is all about comparing things.

They suggest there is meaningful difference between age-groups even though people might have the same diagnosis. I whole-heartedly agree. The Developmental Psychologist in me concurs that interventions for children are often different than interventions for adolescents and adults, even if they are based on the same principal. The groups:

  • Children

  • Adolescents

  • Adults

I like to see that there is a conscripted list of intervention types. It is still the Wild West out there in ASD intervention, and each author trying to make a name for themselves generates a supposedly unique approach. I can feel swamped in all the interventions I need to learn to do my job, but in fact there are really only about four:

  • audio cueing

  • video modeling

  • behavioral in-vivo

  • visual cues

As suggested above, there used to be some useful diagnostic labels to distinguish groups. There can be an enormous range in a number of key variables that affect intervention among people with the same ASD diagnosis. One of the more meaningful variables is IQ. Another is language ability. Among other things, identifying in a research article that studies of ASD individuals with intellectual disabilities generate different results than studies of ASD individuals without intellectual disabilities is important.

Finally, when talking about independent living skills, it is possible to break that large group of skills down into some smaller, yet still meaningful skill groups:

  • employment skills

  • self-help skills

  • house chores

  • community access skills

Far more interesting to me than the results is how the researchers thought about creating a structure for managing the information.

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