Kim Bulkeley, Anita Bundy, Jacqueline Roberts, Stewart Einfeld; Family-Centered Management of Sensory Challenges of Children With Autism: Single-Case Experimental Design. Am J Occup Ther 2016;70(5):7005220040. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2016.017822
Download citation file:
© 2021 American Occupational Therapy Association
We explored the effectiveness of a sensory-based, family-centered coaching approach to changing problematic routines for young children with autism. Three mothers of young children with autism, atypical sensory processing, and global developmental delay each participated in a single-case experimental ABA design study. Mothers selected a problematic daily routine linked to sensory challenges as the focus of four intervention sessions provided in the home. Changes in mothers’ perceptions of the children’s behavior were the primary outcome, measured daily on a visual analog scale. Visual and descriptive analyses were undertaken. The sensory-based, family-centered coaching approach showed promise for changing sensory-related problem behaviors of young children with autism, but the degree and maintenance of the intervention effect varied among participants.
Observing and reframing sensory processing challenges in context (e.g., the child has an extreme reaction to the vacuum cleaner because of auditory overresponsiveness), with the mother and the therapist together observing and discussing the behavior and developing management strategies
Modifying the environment to reduce contributing sensory input (e.g., close doors to place a barrier between the child and the vacuum cleaner)
Modifying the activity to minimize unpleasant sensations (e.g., vacuum when the child is not home)
Managing the activity (e.g., use visuals to prepare for vacuuming; use calming sensory activities)
Promoting agency in the child in response to sensory challenges (e.g., teach the child to turn on a favorite TV show during vacuuming).
Guiding parents to understand the causes of a child’s problematic behaviors is important for framing individualized interventions to address challenges in daily routines.
Use of a VAS is feasible for tracking intervention responses over time, particularly for clients for whom variability is a defining characteristic.
A family-centered coaching approach that used sensory-based strategies to manage challenges in daily routines showed promise for changing the problem behaviors of young children with autism.
Four intervention sessions led to changes in target behaviors, but the optimal amount required for a sustained impact is unclear.
This PDF is available to Subscribers Only
For full access to this pdf, sign in to an existing account, or purchase an annual subscription.