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A Longitudinal Study On Teacch Program in Preschool Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Friday, 3 May 2013: 09:00-13:00
Banquet Hall (Kursaal Centre)
L. D'Elia1, G. Valeri2, S. Vicari1, F. Sonnino1 and A. Mammone3, (1)Paediatric Hospital Bambino Gesù, Rome, Italy, (2)Children's Hospital Bambino Gesù, Roma, Italy, (3)Paeditric Hospital Bambino Gesù, Rome, Italy
Background:  The TEACCH program is an educational intervention based on the collaboration between parents and professionals, aiming to promote personal independence, social responsibility and generalization of the child’s skills in different setting (home and school), involving parents and teachers as co-therapist. Teaching parents is crucial to improve the generalization and maintenance of treatment gains over time, and therefore the inclusion of parents as treatment providers for their own children is now considered an essential component of autism intervention. Moreover, since the TEACCH method includes a home program intervention, it would be interesting to know if this method also reduces parental stress and consequently their perception of children’s maladaptive behaviours. Several previous studies supported the effectiveness of the TEACCH program, conducted at home and school with different intensity, with positive developmental outcomes for ASDs children in natural environments.

Objectives: Our aim was to evaluate the effects of TEACCH program (at home and school) in ASDs preschool children, on autism severity, adaptive functioning, language skills, children’s maladaptive behaviours and parental stress, compared to control group  following a non-specific approach.

Methods: 15 subjects in the TEACCH group compared to 15 children receiving usual intervention and assessed for 4 times. Multiple measures of outcomes were used to address autism severity and behavioral profile.

Results: Both groups improved over time for autism severity, adaptive functioning, language skills, behavioral problems and parental stress. Significant changes were observed on ADOS classification from T0 to T3. The TEACCH group were decreased in Withdrawal, Problems in Pervasive Developmental and  Attention deficit/hyperactivity, Internalizing and Total problems in CBCL subscales. Significant improvement were observed on “Parent-child difficult interaction” subscales of PSI-SF Questionnaire.

Conclusions: Findings suggest that a low intensity home and school TEACCH program may provide benefits to children with ASD, decreasing of autistic symptoms and/or reducing maladaptive behaviors. Furthermore a decrease of parental stress witness that an involvement of parents in the rehabilitation program is a crucial point that greatly contributes to treatment efficacy.

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