Behavioral Treatments in Autism Spectrum Disorder: What Do We Know?

MIND Institute, University of California, Davis, Sacramento, California 95817, USA.
Annual Review of Clinical Psychology (Impact Factor: 12.67). 03/2010; 6(1):447-68. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.clinpsy.121208.131151
Source: PubMed


Although there are a large and growing number of scientifically questionable treatments available for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), intervention programs applying the scientific teaching principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) have been identified as the treatment of choice. The following article provides a selective review of ABA intervention approaches, some of which are designed as comprehensive programs that aim to address all developmental areas of need, whereas others are skills based or directed toward a more circumscribed, specific set of goals. However, both types of approaches have been shown to be effective in improving communication, social skills, and management of problem behavior for children with ASD. Implications of these findings are discussed in relation to critical areas of research that have yet to be fully explored.

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    • "For example, imagine a child who learns a social script to respond to ''hi,'' but then fails to apply this script when someone says, ''hey.'' Generalizing a skill learned in treatment to everyday use is one of the most significant barriers to treatment success (for reviews, see Karkhaneh et al. 2010; Vismara and Rogers 2010; Wass and Porayska-Pomsta 2013). In an early study of this phenomenon, nearly half of children with ASD who learned new behaviors in a treatment room failed to transfer these skills to a new setting (Rincover and Koegel 1975). "
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    ABSTRACT: Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have difficulty generalizing-i.e., relating new stimuli to past experiences. Few experimental studies have addressed this weakness, despite its impact on intervention effects. In a reanalysis of data (de Marchena et al. Cognition 119(1):96-113, 2011), we tested a novel form of generalization-the ability to transfer a strategy used in one context to a similar context-in verbally fluent youth with ASD and matched typically developing controls. Participants with ASD were subtly less likely to learn from experience; their generalizations were less consistent. Generalization in ASD correlated with receptive vocabulary but not age, suggesting a link to language development. A richer understanding of how to promote generalization in ASD will advance both theory and practice.
    Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 06/2015; 45(10). DOI:10.1007/s10803-015-2478-6 · 3.06 Impact Factor
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    • "The present findings suggest the possibility of applying the herbal nasal drops as a complementary treatment for patients with functional abnormalities in the PFC and ACC. The potential benefits of the herbal nasal drops are consistent with the treatment effects of some conventional behavioral interventions and with oxytocin treatment for enhancing executive functions and related behavioral and emotional problems in ASD (Andari et al., 2010; Guastella et al., 2010; Ospina et al., 2008; Vismara & Rogers, 2010 "
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    ABSTRACT: Our animal and human studies have provided empirical evidence that a patented intranasal herbal medicine alters brain functions and neurophysiology. In particular, it reduces clinical symptoms and immunological anomalies in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The present study explored whether the herbal formula can improve executive functions and the associated neuroelectrophysiological activity in ASD. Thirty children with ASD were evenly assigned to receive a daily intranasal administration of the herbal formula or no treatment. Their executive functions, behavioral problems, and electroencephalographic activity during an executive control task were measured before and after six months of treatment with the herbal formula. After treatment, the experimental group showed significantly improved inhibitory control, mental flexibility, and planning, which coincided with an event-related elevation in the activity of their prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortices (regions that are critical for executive control of behaviors) as well as reduced daily dysexecutive behaviors. In contrast, the control group showed no significant changes in executive functions or neural system activity. These findings support the administration of the intranasal herbal medicine as a possible intervention for improving executive functions in ASD.
    Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders 06/2014; 8(6):681–691. DOI:10.1016/j.rasd.2014.03.007 · 2.96 Impact Factor
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    • "This holistic conceptualization of the mind–body relationship is also apparent in popular behavior therapies for children with autism spectrum disorder, such as music therapy, Floortime, rhythm therapy, and reciprocal imitation training which are broadly underpinned by behavioral and functional developmental approaches (Greenspan and Wieder, 1999; Ingersoll and Schreibman, 2006; Overy, 2008; Vismara and Rogers, 2010; Srinivasan and Bhat, 2013). For example, reciprocal imitation training teaches children the spontaneous social use of imitation, which as targeted at attention, language and communication cognitions (Ingersoll and Schreibman, 2006) and Floortime utilizes child-led playful interactions, experiential problem-solving interactions and motor, sensory and spatial play, which is targeted at language and other cognitive skills (Greenspan and Weider, 1997). "
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    ABSTRACT: As a discipline, psychology is defined by its location in the ambiguous space between mind and body, but theories underpinning the application of psychology in psychotherapy are largely silent on this fundamental metaphysical issue. This is a remarkable state of affairs, given that psychotherapy is typically a real-time meeting between two embodied agents, with the goal of facilitating behavior change in one party. The overarching aim of this paper is to problematize the mind-body relationship in psychotherapy in the service of encouraging advances in theory and practice. The paper briefly explores various psychotherapeutic approaches to help explicate relationships between mind and body from these perspectives. Themes arising from this analysis include a tendency toward dualism (separation of mind and body from the conceptualization of human functioning), exclusivism (elimination of either mind or body from the conceptualization of human functioning), or mind-body monism (conceptualization of mind and body as a single, holistic system). We conclude that the literature, as a whole, does not demonstrate consensus, regarding the relationship between mind and body in psychotherapy. We then introduce a contemporary, holistic, psychological conceptualization of the relationship between mind and body, and argue for its potential utility as an organizing framework for psychotherapeutic theory and practice. The holistic approach we explore, "grounded cognition," arises from a long philosophical tradition, is influential in current cognitive science, and presents a coherent empirically testable framework integrating subjective and objective perspectives. Finally, we demonstrate how this "grounded cognition" perspective might lead to advances in the theory and practice of psychotherapy.
    Frontiers in Psychology 05/2014; 5:472. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00472 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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