Preschool Based JASPER Intervention in Minimally Verbal Children with Autism: Pilot RCT.

Center for Autism Research and Treatment, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, University of California, 760 Westwood Plaza, Semel 67-464, Los Angeles, CA, 90024, USA, .
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders (Impact Factor: 3.06). 09/2012; DOI: 10.1007/s10803-012-1644-3
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In this pilot study, we tested the effects of a novel intervention (JASPER, Joint Attention Symbolic Play Engagement and Regulation) on 3 to 5 year old, minimally verbal children with autism who were attending a non-public preschool. Participants were randomized to a control group (treatment as usual, 30 h of ABA-based therapy per week) or a treatment group (substitution of 30 min of JASPER treatment, twice weekly during their regular program). A baseline of 12 weeks in which no changes were noted in core deficits was followed by 12 weeks of intervention for children randomized to the JASPER treatment. Participants in the treatment group demonstrated greater play diversity on a standardized assessment. Effects also generalized to the classroom, where participants in the treatment group initiated more gestures and spent less time unengaged. These results provide further support that even brief, targeted interventions on joint attention and play can improve core deficits in minimally verbal children with ASD.

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Review studies were selected on the basis that they reported on an applicable intervention (linked to ToM in one of four clearly-defined ways), presented new randomised controlled trial data, and participants had a confirmed diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder. Studies were selected by two review authors independently and a third author arbitrated when necessary. Risk of bias was evaluated and data were extracted by two review authors independently; a third author arbitrated when necessary. Most studies were not eligible for meta-analysis, the principal reason being mis-matching methodologies and outcome measures. Three small meta-analyses were carried out. Twenty-two randomised trials were included in the review (N = 695). Studies were highly variable in their country of origin, sample size, participant age, intervention delivery type, and outcome measures. Risk of bias was variable across categories. 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