Postgraduate research student
- School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work - Postgraduate research student
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PROJECT TITLE: Addressing the core symptoms of severe autism spectrum disorder: Effectiveness of intensive behavioural interventions for adolescents and young adults
The number of people with ASD is growing but there is little research on effective interventions for adolescent and young adults with autism. The proposed research aims to contribute to the evidence of effectiveness of intensive ABA-based interventions to mitigate the core symptoms of autism in adolescence and young adulthood.
We propose a series of studies with approx 2-4 participants in each study. The participants will be between 10-30 years old, with severe autism and intellectual disabilities. They will be recruited from well established agencies that provide ABA-based interventions in Italy. The target behaviours to be addressed in each of the studies will focus on their language, academic, and adaptive skills.
Specific Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)-based intervention protocols will be implemented, including:
- Discrete Trial Teaching
- Activity schedules
- Incidental teaching
- Functional Behaviour Assessment
- Parent training
While all of these procedures are widely used and have evidence bases in the scientific literature for young children with autism, less is known about how they work with teens and young adults.
The aims of the studies will include,
- Training to reduce challenging behaviours and increase cooperation
- Training for generalised motor and vocal imitation
- Training of basic language skills
- Training of the conversational skills and story telling
- Training for listening comprehension
- Training for daily living skills
- Training for self-help and self-occupation skills
- Training for academic skills
- Training for social skills
The study will have some of following pre- and post-measures of the participant’s level of functioning: The Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Scales, Childhood Autism rating Scale, the Wechsler Intelligence Test for Children and/or the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale.
The overall aim of the research is to demonstrate that the individualised procedures successfully applied for less-then-5-year-old children can be effectively adapted for adolescents and young adults in these target domains. A single system multiple-baseline-across-behaviours research design will be used in each of the studies to provide evidences of effectiveness of the intervention protocol.