Objectives: Our primary objectives were to replicate our previous finding of improvement in EF after spark* intervention in school-aged children with ASD as well as to examine the specific relationships between parent reported EF, performance-based measures of EF, and autism characteristics and behaviour before and after spark* intervention.
Methods: A group of school-aged children participating in spark* intervention groups were assessed prior to the initiation of treatment using standardized face-to-face and rating scale measures of EF [i.e., BRIEF, Gioia et al., 1996; A Developmental NEuroPSYchological Assessment (NEPSY), Korkman et al., 2007] as well as standardized rating scales of autism characteristics and behavior [i.e., Autism Spectrum Rating System (ASRS), Goldstein & Naglieri, 2009]. spark* was administered by graduate students in school psychology who were trained in the spark* philosophy and methods and supervised by experienced clinicians. Skills addressed during the sessions included: behavioral self-regulation of hands, breathing, feet, voice, and whole body; and cognitive self-regulation, focusing and sustaining attention, determining and retaining the most important/relevant information, determining expectations, and constructing meaning. After the 10-week intervention period, the same measures of EF and autism characteristics and behaviours were re-administered.
Results: Observed and performance-based improvements in EF were found to demonstrate similar patterns as in our previous investigation of improvement after spark* intervention. Results will be discussed in terms of relationships of EF variables to autism characteristics, as measured before and after intervention.
Conclusions: The results confirm that the spark* intervention program is effective for improving the behaviour of elementary school-aged children with ASD. Parents also thought the program was a valuable program for their children and their families. Implications for programming and future research will be discussed.
See more of: Treatment Trials: Behavioral Interventions
See more of: Prevalence, Risk factors & Intervention