Objectives: To determine whether a parent-delivered Qigong massage program would be effective in improving behavioral and social/language measures of autism, reducing impairment of sensory and self-regulation, and reducing measures of parent stress relative to caring for the child.
Methods: 39 children were randomly assigned to treatment and wait-list control conditions. Parents delivering the massage treatment received a three-hour group training followed by seven, weekly, half-hour support sessions from trained EI staff. Parents gave the massage daily for a four month duration. Pre and post testing was done with the Autism Behavior Checklist, the Pervasive Developmental Disorder Behavioral Inventory, the Sense and Self-regulation checklist and the Parent Stress Index.
Results: Treated children had significant improvement in measures of autism (p,.01) and sensory-regulation impairment (p<.001), and parent stress (p<.001) compared to wait-list controls. Effect sizes were in the large range.
Conclusions: A parent-directed Chinese massage intervention for pre-school children was effective in reducing the severity of measures of autism, sensory regulation impairment, and parent stress relative to caring for their child.