Evaluating Community Inclusion: A Novel Treatment Program for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Webb, Natalie J.
Candreva, Ilene Allinger
Strum, Deirdre Hickey
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Purpose: This study reports the initial results of program effectiveness for the Including Special Kids (ISK) Program, a novel program developing better social skills and inclusion among children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Methodology: Using evidence-based indicators and peer acceptance to define inclusion, we measured the progress of 30 children over 6-24 months. We constructed descriptive statistics and regression models from panel data to study skill level changes for each child over time. Results: Children participating in the program showed average improvement in all areas except using the restroom and cooperating (p<0.05). We also saw improvement in all composite scores. These children improved their scores, on average, of one point or greater for modulating volume, moving safely, and making friends and, on average, more than half a point for referencing, engaging, communicating and regulating emotions. Our analyses show different patterns when we grouped children by initial skill levels. Conclusions: We measured program effectiveness across different behaviors and skills. While these early results do not prove program success, they offer an indication that the program helps children with ASD learn skills and behaviors that allow them to successfully navigate and become part of community-based, after-school recreational programs.
The article of record as published may be located at http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2146862
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