Support Professionals and Students in the
Field of Developmental Disabilities

Journal on Developmental Disabilities

The Journal on Developmental Disabilities is a peer-reviewed journal with a growing regional and international readership.

Volume 16 Number 2 – Behavioural Interventions in Autism


The TRE-ADD Preschool Parent Training Program: Program Evaluation of an Innovative Service Delivery Model
Adrienne Perry and Rosemary A. Condillac

This paper describes an innovative behavioural service delivery model for preschoolers with autism and their parents. The program was evaluated using standardized child and parent measures, as well as consumer satisfaction in a sample of 27 families. Results indicated that parents increased their knowledge of behavioural principles, children's skills increased significantly across domains relative to 10 waitlist comparison children, there was no change in parents' stress or family harmony, and parents were very satisfied with the program. However, parents did not feel confident about their ability to continue a home program unaided and children were receiving less than optimal amounts of intervention following the program.

Outcomes of Intensive Behavioural Intervention in the Toronto Preschool Autism Service
Nancy Freeman and Adrienne Perry

Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) has documented efficacy in small, model programs for young children with autism, but less is known about its effectiveness in large, less prescribed community settings. This paper reports on the outcomes of 89 preschool children (aged 2 to 6) receiving IBI from the Toronto Preschool Autism Service (TPAS). Results indicate substantial improvement in severity of autistic symptoms, cognitive and adaptive behaviour, and rate of development. Outcomes were hetergeneous and were classified into 7 categories, which included some children similar to the "best outcomes" reported in model programs. Predictors of better outcomes included medium to higher initial levels of functioning, younger age at program entry, and relatively longer duration of IBI.

Testing the Application of Benchmarks for Children in Ontario's IBI program: Six Case Studies
Ksusha Blacklock and Adrienne Perry

Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) is the treatment of choice for young children with autism. Recently a set of benchmarks was developed for the Ontgario IBI program to monitor progress and facilitate clinical decision-making. This paper illustrates the benchmarks process using a case study approach based on six children for whom retrospective file data were available, and addresses questions related to their technical validity. Results indicated that current clinical data contained most of the information needed to evaluate the five steps of the benchmarks, and that these steps were developmentally ordered and demonstrated progress over time. These findings provide preliminary support of the psychometric validity of the benchmarks and their ability to provide a well-structured tool that helps clinicians to make transparent, consistent, and evidence-based decisions.

Effect of Sensitized Coaching on Self-Efficacy of Parents of Children with Autism
Archana Raj and Kiran Kumar Salagame

Information is lacking on the capacity of coaching models to alter parental self-efficacy, especially for parents of children with autism. This gap is worth investigating, considering the significant challenges this group of parents face in parent-child interactions and the impact these challenges may have on parental cognitions. To address this gap, this study proposed a sensitized model of parent coaching. Results on the relative efficacies of this sensitized model to alter self-efficacy of parents of children with autism are provided and compared to a traditional model of parent coaching. Implications for programs for children with autism are discussed

Group Social Skills Training for Adolescents with Asperger Syndrome or High Functioning Autism
Kendra Mitchell, Kaleigh Regehr, James Reaume, and Maurice Feldman

Social interaction deficits are core features of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Previous studies have not clearly demonstrated generalization of trained social skills in children and youth with ASD. This study evaluated training and generalization effects of a group social skills training program with parent training for three adolescents with Asperger Syndrome (AS) or High-Functioning Autism (HFA) at a community behavioural support service. The adolescents met weekly for 12, 2-hour training sessions; parents attended separate, but concurrent tri-weekly 2 hour parent training sessions. Group social skills training and parent training were associated with increased generalized targeted social skills across behavioural and social validity measures that were maintained at a 3-month follow-up.


Brief Reports

The Relationship Between Parental Stress and Intervention Outcome of Children with Autism
Rebecca Shine and Adrienne Perry

This study examined stress levels in 151 mothers of children with autism, at the time their children were beginning Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI), in relationship to the rate of progress and outcomes for the children at the time of exiting the IBI program. There was a modest negative correlation between mothers' stress and child's adaptive skills and a trend for lower stress among mothers whose children achieved better outcome classifications.

Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) Training: Cooperation and its Relationship to Language and Social Competence in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Mary Konstantareas, Andrea Rios, and Calida Ramnarace

This study attempted to determine the relationship between Cooperation and the Language and Social domains of Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills (ABLLS-R). Data on 18 children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who were exposed to Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) training were used. Results revealed that Cooperation at the time of program entry was related to Cooperation, Receptive Language, Social interaction and Play and Leisure skills post-program. Limited or complete absence of spoken language may account for the lack of relationship between Cooperation and the three expressive language domains examined. Results are discussed for their relevance to IBI training among persons with ASD.

Maladaptive Behaviour in Autism
Odette Weiss, Adrienne Perry, and Kerry Wells

This study evaluated the usefulness of the Maladaptive Behavior Domain of the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales-II in assessing maladaptive behaviour in children with autism. Our sample was composed of 117 children with autism or Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). Scores from the Maladaptive Behavior Domain were examined in relation to autism severity, cognitive ability, age, gender, and adaptive skills, all of which have been found to be related to maladaptive behaviour in previous research. Our results were mostly inconsistent with recent research, calling into question the validity of the Maladaptive Behavior Domain in its present form for use with children with autism.

The Adaptive Profiles of Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Myra Sugar, Mary Konstantareas, and Glenn Rampton

The adaptive profiles of 40 individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) were determined using the Communication, Daily Living Skills, and Socialization domains of the Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Scales II. The results revealed that individuals with ASD functioned best in Daily Living Skills and least well in Socialization, with Communication faring in between the two. These results replicate the well documented challenges of those with ASD, and mirror the DSM IV criteria for this condition. Results are discussed for their relevance to our understanding of ASD as well as to how they may inform proactice in the area.