Ayelet, B. S. (2012). To enforce or not to enforce? the use of collaborative interfaces to promote social skills in children with high functioning autism spectrum disorder. Autism, doi: 10.1177/1362361312451526
The goal of this study was to examine whether a technological touch activated Collaborative Puzzle Game (CPG) increased positive social behaviors in children with high functioning autism spectrum disorder (HFASD). The CPG involved construction of a virtual puzzle by selecting and dragging pieces into the solution area on a touch screen table. The target picture was presented on the top of the screen. Six dyads of children with HFASD (aged 8-11 years) engaged in the CPG in a Free Play (FP) mode in which partners could independently move puzzle pieces versus in an Enforced Collaboration (EC) mode in which partners could only move puzzle pieces together. Videos of the dames were coded for the frequencies of positive and negative social interaction, affect, play, and autistic behaviors. Parents completed the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS).
Wilcoxon Signed-ranks tests indicated that children with HFASD showed significantly higher frequencies of positive social interaction and collaborative play in the EC versus FP modes but there were no differences in negative social behaviors. Differences in social behaviors between partners during the puzzle games were not significant; however there were differences within pair in the severity of social deficits as assessed by the SRS questionnaire.
The CPG in an EC mode was effective in promoting positive social interaction by requiring children to work together towards a mutual goal. However, the increased challenge in this mode, particularly for children with lower social-communication skills, suggests the need for establishing selection criteria and mediation steps for such interventions.
View the Research Article – To enforce or not to enforce? The use of collaborative interfaces to promote social skills in children with high functioning autism spectrum disorder
Sansosti, F., Lavik, K., & Sansosti, J. (2012). Family experiences through the autism diagnostic process. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, doi: 10.1177/1088357612446860
The primary aim of this study was to investigate common family experiences during the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnostic process, and the child and family variables that may relate to different diagnostic outcomes. A secondary aim of this study was to evaluate families’ knowledge of the research support for various interventions. To investigate these two foci, 16 families of children aged 7 years and younger with an ASD provided information pertaining to their experiences during the diagnostic process. Results indicated that families reported a 2-year lag between first noticing delays in their children’s behavior and the receipt of the diagnosis, a delay that was significantly longer for children of African American and mixed racial backgrounds. Moreover, families whose children were diagnosed at a later age were less satisfied with the diagnostic process. Families appeared to have an adequate understanding of research-based interventions. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.
View the Research Article – Family experiences through the autism diagnostic process
Cimera, R. (2011). Do sheltered workshops enhance employment outcomes for adults with autism spectrum disorder? Autism.
This study investigated whether sheltered workshops help prepare individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) for competitive employment within the community. Two groups of individuals were compared: (a) 215 supported employees who were in sheltered workshops prior to entering supported employment and (b) 215 supported employees who were not in sheltered workshops. Individuals from both groups were matched based on their primary diagnosis, secondary diagnosis (if present), and gender. Results showed that there were no differences in rates of employment between these two groups. However, individuals who participated in sheltered workshops earned significantly less (US$129.36 versus US$191.42 per week), and cost significantly more to serve (US$6,065.08 versus US$2,440.60), than their non-sheltered workshop peers. Results presented here suggest that individuals with ASD achieve better vocational outcomes if they do not participate in sheltered workshops prior to enrolling in supported employment.
View the Research Article – Do sheltered workshops enhance employment outcomes for adults with autism spectrum disorder?
VCU-RRTC, a center of national excellence, provides resources for professionals, individuals with disabilities and other stakeholders. It is committed to developing and advancing evidence-based practices to increase employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. This website contains publications, free online courses and additional resources relating to employment and transition.
View the Website – Virginia Commonwealth University: Rehabilitation Research and Training Center
Intended to be a resource for employers, this guide provides an overview of disability employment. It addresses the incentives associated with hiring people with disabilities and lessons and strategies that can help employers design a program that employs those with disabilities. This guide also contains fact sheets and additional resources.
View the Guide – U.S. Department of Education: Disability Employment 101
AUTCOM is an advocacy organization that is dedicated to protecting and advancing the human and civil rights of individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities. In addition to its advocacy efforts, this organization provides information, support, conferences and trainings, and other networking opportunities for individuals and families. Its website contain copies of its e-newsletter, updates on political and judicial decisions, book reviews, coverage of issues that affect individuals with ASD and more.
View the Website – Autism National Committee (AUTCOM)
The Interactive Autism Network at Kennedy Krieger Institute facilitates research in order to understand and learn more about Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and its impact on individuals and families. It works with individuals with ASD, their families and researchers throughout the United States to conduct research on various topics relevant to ASD such as diagnosis, early intervention, behavioral therapies, transition, bullying and much more. This website offers published research, stats, free webinars and other useful resources.
View the Website – Interactive Autism Network
This website offers information and resources for families of young children ages 0-5 with developmental disabilities. It contains information about autism and addresses developmental milestones to help parents track their child’s development. It also offers guidance on different topics including early intervention services, therapies, assistive technologies, lifespan planning, and more. Additionally, this website offers a Resource Locator, a tool that assists users in locating local organizations and agencies.
View the Website – My Child Without Limits
Through advocacy, community partnerships, trainings, and research, the Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at UC Davis works to improve quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. This website offers more information about its clinical services, support groups, and research projects. Additionally, it provides numerous local, state, and federal resources pertaining to developmental disabilities.
View the Website – UC Davis Mind Institute: Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities
This webpage contains briefs for all 24 identified evidence-based practices for children and youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Each brief provides an overview of the practice, instructions for implementation, an implementation checklist, and additional references. These evidence-based practices (EBP) include computer-aided instruction; discrete trial training; naturalistic intervention; parent-implemented intervention; pivotal response training; social skills groups; video modeling and more.
View the Webpage – NPDC: Evidence-Based Practice Briefs