Pubmed du 05/02/20

mercredi 5 février 2020

1. Avila-Alvarez A, Alonso-Bidegain M, De-Rosende-Celeiro I, Vizcaino-Cela M, Larraneta-Alcalde L, Torres-Tobio G. Improving social participation of children with autism spectrum disorder : Pilot testing of an early animal-assisted intervention in Spain. Health & social care in the community. 2020.

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) experience moderate to profound challenges in relation to the skills required for social participation. Animal-assisted intervention (AAI) is increasingly used within early community care. However, the results of its early application in this population group are not known. This pilot study aimed to explore the feasibility of an early intervention based on the use of therapy dogs and to examine their impact on communication and social interaction skills. A within-subject quasi-experimental longitudinal design was used. The instruments for measuring results were the Assessment of Communication and Interaction Skills (ACIS) and Animal-assisted Therapy Flow Sheet, both based on observation. A total of 19 children with confirmed or probable ASD (with mean age of 46.2 months), cared for in a Spanish therapeutic unit, participated in a median of nine AAI sessions, with a mean duration of 19.9 min per session. The total ACIS score increased significantly between the initial and final assessments of the study, with communication and social interaction skills improving with a large effect size. In the Animal-assisted Therapy Flow Sheet instrument, statistically significant improvements were found in most of the items that evaluate the frequency of child-dog social relationships (look at the dog, touch it, talk to it and get involved in an activity with the animal) and child-therapist relationships (look at the therapist and talk to him/her) ; the effect sizes ranged from medium to large. In conclusion, the early application of an AAI is feasible and seems to improve communication and social interaction skills, both essential elements for social participation. The results suggest that this intervention may be a beneficial non-pharmacological therapy as a complementary approach within community care for children with ASD in the early years of their life.

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2. Kelleher BL, Hogan AL, Ezell J, Caravella K, Schmidt J, Wang Q, Roberts JE. Anxiety and threat-related attentional biases in adolescents with fragile X syndrome. J Intellect Disabil Res. 2020.

BACKGROUND : Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is a single-gene disorder highly associated with anxiety ; however, measuring anxiety symptoms in FXS and other neurogenetic syndromes is challenged by common limitations in language, self-awareness and cognitive skills required for many traditional assessment tasks. Prior studies have documented group-level differences in threat-related attentional biases, assessed via eye tracking, in FXS and non-FXS groups. The present study built on this work to test whether attentional biases correspond to clinical features of anxiety among adolescents and young adults with FXS. METHODS : Participants included 21 male adolescents with FXS ages 15-20 years who completed an adapted eye-tracking task that measured attentional bias towards fearful faces of varied emotional intensity. RESULTS : Among participants without anxiety disorders, attentional bias towards fear increased across age, similar to non-FXS paediatric anxiety samples. In contrast, participants with anxiety disorders exhibited greater stability in fear-related attentional biases across age. Across analyses, subtle fear stimuli were more sensitive to within-group anxiety variability than full-intensity stimuli. CONCLUSIONS : Our results provide novel evidence that although threat-related attentional biases may correspond with anxiety outcomes in FXS, these associations are complex and vary across developmental and task factors. Future studies are needed to characterise these associations in more robust longitudinal samples, informing whether and how eye-tracking tasks might be optimised to reliably predict and track anxiety in FXS.

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