Research Article  |   September 2015
Effectiveness of Interventions to Improve Social Participation, Play, Leisure, and Restricted and Repetitive Behaviors in People With Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review
Author Affiliations
  • Kelly Tanner, PhD, OTR/L, is Occupational Therapy Research Coordinator, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, OH, and Lecturer, Occupational Therapy Division, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus; Kelly.Tanner@nationwidechildrens.org
  • Brittany N. Hand, MOT, OTR/L, is PhD Student, Occupational Therapy Division, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus
  • Gjyn O’Toole, MEdStud, GradDip TEFL, BA, Dip Occ Therapy, is Senior Lecturer, School of Health Sciences, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, New South Wales, Australia
  • Alison E. Lane, PhD, OTR/L, is Associate Professor, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, New South Wales, Australia
Article Information
Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorder / Evidence-Based Practice / Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Special Issue on Autism: Evidence Review
Research Article   |   September 2015
Effectiveness of Interventions to Improve Social Participation, Play, Leisure, and Restricted and Repetitive Behaviors in People With Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September 2015, Vol. 69, 6905180010p1-6905180010p12. doi:10.5014/ajot.2015.017806
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September 2015, Vol. 69, 6905180010p1-6905180010p12. doi:10.5014/ajot.2015.017806
Abstract

People with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) commonly experience difficulties with social participation, play, and leisure along with restricted and repetitive behaviors that can interfere with occupational performance. The objective of this systematic review was to evaluate current evidence for interventions within the occupational therapy scope of practice that address these difficulties. Strong evidence was found that social skills groups, the Picture Exchange Communication System, joint attention interventions, and parent-mediated strategies can improve social participation. The findings were less conclusive for interventions to improve play and leisure performance and to decrease restricted and repetitive behaviors, but several strategies showed promise with moderately strong supporting evidence. Occupational therapists should be guided by evidence when considering interventions to improve social participation, play, leisure, and restricted and repetitive behaviors in people with ASD. Additional research using more robust scientific methods is needed for many of the currently available strategies.