Research Article  |   July 2013
Systematic Review of Interventions to Promote Social–Emotional Development in Young Children With or at Risk for Disability
Author Affiliations
  • Jane Case-Smith, EdD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Professor and Director, Division of Occupational Therapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The Ohio State University, 406 Atwell Hall, 453 West 10th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210; Jane.Case-Smith@osumc.edu
Article Information
Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorder / Early Intervention / Evidence-Based Practice / Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / Special Issue on Occupational Therapy and Early Intervention/Early Childhood
Research Article   |   July 2013
Systematic Review of Interventions to Promote Social–Emotional Development in Young Children With or at Risk for Disability
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July 2013, Vol. 67, 395-404. doi:10.5014/ajot.2013.004713
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July 2013, Vol. 67, 395-404. doi:10.5014/ajot.2013.004713
Abstract

This systematic review synthesized the research on interventions used by occupational therapy practitioners to promote social–emotional development in young children (birth–5 yr) with or at risk for disabilities. After a comprehensive search of the research literature, 23 studies were reviewed and then synthesized into five themes: (1) touch-based interventions to enhance calming and parent–infant bonding, (2) relationship-based interventions to promote positive caregiver–child interactions, (3) joint attention interventions, (4) naturalistic preschool interventions to promote peer-to-peer engagement, and (5) instruction-based interventions to teach children appropriate social behaviors. The interventions for infants primarily involved coaching parents in specific strategies to promote positive interactions; interventions for preschool-age children typically involved encouraging peer support, instructing children, and applying naturalistic behavioral techniques to develop higher-level social competence. The studies demonstrated low to moderate positive effects for interventions used by occupational therapy practitioners to improve social–emotional development across ages, diagnoses, and settings.