Autism TreatmentAutism Information for Parents, Practitioners & Professionals…

Autism Information for Parents, Practitioners & Professionals…

August 15-Sept 15, 2013 AUTISM RESEARCH UPDATES

Redefining Autism Disorder Using DSM-5: The Implications of the Proposed DSM-5 Criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorders Spectrum

A number of changes were made to pervasive developmental disorders (PDDs) in the recently released diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (APA, Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, American Psychiatric Publishing, Arlington, VA, 2013). Of the 210 participants in the present study who met DSM-IV-TR criteria for a PDD [i.e., autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder and pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS)], only 57.1 % met DSM-5 criteria (specificity = 1.0) for autism spectrum disorder when criteria were applied concurrently during diagnostic assessment. High-functioning individuals (i.e., Asperger’s disorder and PDD-NOS) were less likely to meet DSM-5 criteria than those with autistic disorder. A failure to satisfy all three criteria in the social-communication domain was the most common reason for exclusion (39 %). Young, R.L, et. Al. J. Aut. Dev. Disord. EPub Ahead of Print. September. 2013 ISSN: 0162-3257 (Print) 1573-3432 (Online)

Prevention of Problem Behavior by Teaching Functional Communication and Self-Control Skills to Preschoolers

We evaluated the effects of the preschool life skills program (PLS; Hanley, Heal, Tiger, & Ingvarsson, 2007) on the acquisition and maintenance of functional communication and self-control skills, as well as its effect on problem behavior, of small groups of preschoolers at risk for school failure. Six children were taught to request teacher attention, teacher assistance, and preferred materials, and to tolerate delays to and denial of those events during child-led, small-group activities. Teaching strategies included instruction, modeling, roleplay, and differential reinforcement. Six additional children randomly assigned to similarly sized control groups participated in small-group activities but did not experience the PLS program. Within-subject and between-groups designs showed that the PLS teaching procedures were functionally related to the improvements and maintenance of the skills and prevention of problem behavior. Stakeholder responses on a social acceptability questionnaire indicated that they were satisfied with the form of the targeted social skills, the improvements in the children's performance, and the teaching strategies. Kevin C. Luczynski, KC and Hanley, GP J. Appl. Behav. Analysis. 21 JUN 2013 DOI: 10.1002/jaba.44 [see below for 2007 PLS Study]

Evaluation of a class wide teaching program for developing preschool life skills.

Recently, nonmaternal center-based child care has been linked to problem behavior in young children (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2003). In response, a comprehensive program to promote prosocial skills was evaluated in a classroom of 16 children between the ages of 3 and 5 years. Classroom observations were conducted during evocative situations to determine the likelihood of problem behavior (noncompliance, vocal or motor disruptions, aggression) and preschool life skills. A classwide teaching program was then implemented in a staggered manner across instruction following, functional communication, delay tolerance, and friendship skills. These four categories of preschool life skills, which included two to four related skills, were selected for classwide teaching because they were either identified by educators as important for early school success, have often been taught following functional assessments of more severe problem behavior, or both. Skills were taught on a classwide basis during typically scheduled activities (circle, free play, transitions, meals) via instructions, modeling, role play, and feedback. A multiple probe design showed that the program resulted in an 74% reduction in problem behavior and a more than four-fold increase in preschool life skills. Similar beneficial effects of the program were evident in questionnaire data gathered prior to and at the close of the evaluation. Finally, the teachers who implemented the program reported overall high levels of satisfaction with the classwide teaching program, the target skills, and the results. Implications for the design of early childhood experiences for preempting the development of serious problem behavior are discussed. Hanley GP,, (2007) J Appl Behav Anal. 40(2):277-300.]

The relationship between race and comorbid symptoms in infants and toddlers with autism spectrum disorder.

Researchers have indicated that persons with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) population evince higher rates of comorbid symptoms. While the relationship between comorbid symptoms and factors such as autism symptom severity, IQ level, age, communication abilities, and degree of social impairment were previously examined, there has been limited research on the effect of race in this area. The current study examined the potential role of race in comorbid symptoms in toddlers with ASD and atypically developing toddlers without a diagnosis of ASD using The Baby and Infant Screen for Children with aUtIsm Traits – Part 2 (BISCUIT-Part 2). Based on the current findings, African-American toddlers evinced higher rates of comorbid symptoms than Caucasian toddlers and toddlers of other races. In addition, toddlers with ASD evinced higher rates of comorbid symptoms than atypically developing toddlers without a diagnosis of ASD. Implications regarding these findings are discussed. Jina Jang, Johnny L. Matson, Res. Aut. Spect. Disord. 7 (11):1433–1438 [email protected]