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Enhancing Social Skills in Adolescents with High Functioning Autism using Motor-based Role-play Intervention

Author(s): Sharon A. Gutman PhD, OTR, FAOTA | Emily I. Raphael-Greenfield PhD, OTR | Neal Carlson, OTR | Rachel Friedman, OTR | Amanda Iger, OTR

Journal: Open Journal of Occupational Therapy
ISSN 2168-6408

Volume: 1;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 4;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: autism spectrum disorder | occupational therapy | canine animal assistant

The purpose of this pilot study was to collect pilot data evaluating whether a motor-based role-play intervention using a canine animal assistant can enhance social skill use in two adolescents with HFA. A single subject ABA design across two participants was used. The intervention consisted of four 1-hour sessions over 4 weeks. The quality of social interaction was measured by the Evaluation of Social Interaction (ESI)administered at baseline and the 3-month probe. Frequency of targeted social skill use was measured duringbaseline, intervention, and probe phases. Participant 1 experienced statistically significant increases in both ESI scores (p = .012, t = -5.488) from baseline to the 3-month probe. Participant 2 also experienced a statistically significant increase in ESI scores from baseline to probe (p = .002, t = -10.167), but he was unable to fully maintain these gains at the 3-month probe. This pilot study’s findings suggest that the intervention produced positive effects in both participants and warrant further investigation.
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