Behavior Therapy : Advances in Evidence-Based Intervention and Assessment Practices for Youth with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (Janvier 2015)

mardi 13 janvier 2015

Le numéro de janvier 2015 de la revue Behavior Therapy est consacré à l’autisme :

Advances in Evidence-Based Intervention and Assessment Practices for Youth with an Autism Spectrum Disorder

1. McLeod BD, Wood JJ, Klebanoff S. Advances in Evidence-Based Intervention and Assessment Practices for Youth With an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Behavior therapy. 2015 ;46(1):1-6.

This special series is designed to highlight recent advances in the evidence-based treatment and assessment of youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The seven articles for this special series include novel applications of cognitive-behavioral therapy to address core aspects of ASD, empirical research that provides understanding of ways to assess and intervene with individuals with ASD, and studies that focus on the implementation of evidence-based interventions for youth with ASD. In this introductory paper, we provide an overview of the current state of the field related to the treatment and assessment of youth with ASD and discuss related themes addressed across the papers in the series. We conclude with a brief description of each of the seven papers in the series.

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2. Wood JJ, Ehrenreich-May J, Alessandri M, Fujii C, Renno P, Laugeson E, Piacentini JC, De Nadai AS, Arnold E, Lewin AB, Murphy TK, Storch EA. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Early Adolescents With Autism Spectrum Disorders and Clinical Anxiety : A Randomized, Controlled Trial. Behavior therapy. 2015 ;46(1):7-19.

Clinically elevated anxiety is a common, impairing feature of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). A modular CBT program designed for preteens with ASD, Behavioral Interventions for Anxiety in Children with Autism (BIACA ; Wood et al., 2009) was enhanced and modified to address the developmental needs of early adolescents with ASD and clinical anxiety. Thirty-three adolescents (11–15 years old) were randomly assigned to 16 sessions of CBT or an equivalent waitlist period. The CBT model emphasized exposure, challenging irrational beliefs, and behavioral supports provided by caregivers, as well as numerous ASD-specific treatment elements. Independent evaluators, parents, and adolescents rated symptom severity at baseline and posttreatment/postwaitlist. In intent-to-treat analyses, the CBT group outperformed the waitlist group on independent evaluators’ ratings of anxiety severity on the Pediatric Anxiety Rating Scale (PARS) and 79% of the CBT group met Clinical Global Impressions–Improvement scale criteria for positive treatment response at posttreatment, as compared to only 28.6% of the waitlist group. Group differences were not found for diagnostic remission or questionnaire measures of anxiety. However, parent-report data indicated that there was a positive treatment effect of CBT on autism symptom severity. The CBT manual under investigation, enhanced for early adolescents with ASD, yielded meaningful treatment effects on the primary outcome measure (PARS), although additional developmental modifications to the manual are likely warranted. Future studies examining this protocol relative to an active control are needed.

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3. Kretzmann M, Shih W, Kasari C. Improving Peer Engagement of Children With Autism on the School Playground : A Randomized Controlled Trial. Behavior therapy. 2015 ;46(1):20-8.

This study aimed to test the effects of a psychosocial intervention, Remaking Recess, on peer engagement for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Using a randomized, wait-list-controlled design, the intervention was implemented during recess at four elementary schools. The immediate treatment (IT) group consisted of 13 (2 female) elementary school students with ASD and the wait-list (WL) group contained 11 (4 female) students with ASD. All of the children with ASD were fully included in the general education program. Analyses revealed that time spent engaged with peers was significantly increased for the IT group and maintained over the follow-up. School playground staff in the IT group showed increased behaviors aimed at improving peer engagement for children with ASD compared to playground staff at the WL sites. These improvements did not maintain to follow-up. These results suggest that a low dose, brief intervention can be beneficial in increasing peer engagement for children with autism in inclusive settings, but continued support of playground staff is likely needed.

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4. Kerns CM, Kendall PC, Zickgraf H, Franklin ME, Miller J, Herrington J. Not to Be Overshadowed or Overlooked : Functional Impairments Associated With Comorbid Anxiety Disorders in Youth With ASD. Behavior therapy. 2015 ;46(1):29-39.

This study’s objective was to examine associations between comorbid anxiety disorders and difficulties commonly attributed to both anxiety and ASD (autism spectrum disorder) including self-injury, depressive symptoms, functional communication, social skill deficits and parent stress, in a well-characterized sample of youth with ASD. Fifty-nine verbally fluent participants (7–17 years ; 93% Caucasian) diagnosed with ASD and their parents completed semistructured diagnostic interviews to confirm ASD diagnosis and assess for anxiety disorders. Parents completed questionnaires on child behavior and social skill as well as parental stress. Co-occurring anxiety disorders were associated with more parent-reported self-injurious behavior, depressive symptoms, and parental stress in youth with ASD, after controlling for other influential variables (e.g., ASD severity, cognitive ability, medication status). In contrast, youth with co-occurring anxiety disorders appeared to have significantly stronger parent-reported functional communication than youth with ASD alone as well as a comparable ability, according to parents, to initiate social interaction and develop relationships. Findings support a profile of challenges and relative strengths associated with the presence of anxiety disorders in youth with ASD. Though more research is needed to determine the direction of these associations, results provide further rationale for improving recognition and targeted treatment of this comorbidity in clinical practice.

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5. White SW, Lerner MD, McLeod BD, Wood JJ, Ginsburg GS, Kerns C, Ollendick T, Kendall PC, Piacentini J, Walkup J, Compton S. Anxiety in Youth With and Without Autism Spectrum Disorder : Examination of Factorial Equivalence. Behavior therapy. 2015 ;46(1):40-53.

Although anxiety is frequently reported among children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), it has not been established that the manifest symptoms of anxiety in the context of ASD are the same as those seen in youth without ASD. This study sought to examine the metric and latent factor equivalence of anxiety as measured by the Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children, parent-report (MASC-P) and child-report (MASC-C), in youth with anxiety disorders and ASD with intact verbal ability (n = 109, Mage = 11.67 years, 99 male) and a gender-matched comparison group of typically developing (TD) children and adolescents with anxiety disorders but without ASD (n = 342, Mage = 11.25 years, 246 male). Multigroup factorial invariance (MFI) using structural equation modeling indicated equivalent latent factors in youth with and without ASD on the MASC-C (metric invariance). However, the item means and covariances along with the relations among the factor scores were different for the youth with ASD (i.e., lack of evidence for scalar or structural invariance). The MASC-P data did not fit the measure’s established structure for either the ASD or TD group, and post-hoc exploratory factor analysis revealed a different factor structure in the ASD group. Findings suggest that the MASC-C may not measure identical constructs in anxious youth with and without ASD. Further research on the structure of the MASC in clinical samples is warranted.

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6. Locke J, Olsen A, Wideman R, Downey MM, Kretzmann M, Kasari C, Mandell DS. A Tangled Web : The Challenges of Implementing an Evidence-Based Social Engagement Intervention for Children With Autism in Urban Public School Settings. Behavior therapy. 2015 ;46(1):54-67.

There is growing evidence that efficacious autism-related interventions rarely are adopted or successfully implemented in public schools, in part because of the lack of fit between the intervention and the needs and capacities of the school setting. There is little systematic information available regarding the barriers to implementation of complex interventions such as those addressing social engagement for children with autism.The present study used fieldnotes from an implementation trial to explore barriers that emerged during the training of school personnel and subsequent implementation of a social engagement intervention. A number of barriers at the individual (training) and school levels (policies surrounding recess, staffing, prioritization of competing demands, level of respect and support, and availability of resources) interfered with the continued use and sustainment of the intervention. We offer potential strategies to overcome these barriers and provide directions for future research in this critical area.

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7. Christon LM, Arnold CC, Myers BJ. Professionals’ Reported Provision and Recommendation of Psychosocial Interventions for Youth With Autism Spectrum Disorder. Behavior therapy. 2015 ;46(1):68-82.

Children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) receive intervention services from multiple professionals across disciplines. Little is known about services for youth with ASD in community settings. The purpose of this study was to provide data on professionals’ self-reported practices across different classes of psychosocial interventions for youth with ASD. A multidisciplinary (medicine/nursing, education, occupational/physical therapy, psychology, social work, and speech-language pathology/audiology) sample (N = 709 ; 86% female ; 86% White) of professionals who endorsed providing clinical services to youth with ASD was recruited through convenience sampling (listservs, etc.) and stratified random sampling (online provider listings). Professionals completed a survey on intervention practices with youth with ASD, specifically on their own provision of, as well as their recommendation/referral of, psychosocial interventions (focused intervention practices [FIPs], comprehensive treatment models [CTMs], and other interventions). Hierarchical multiple regression models showed discipline differences in self-reported provision and recommendation of evidence-based FIPs ; training variables and unfamiliarity with FIPs predicted rates of providing and recommending. FIPs were reportedly provided and recommended at higher rates than CTMs. Descriptive data are presented on professionals’ reported practice of other psychosocial interventions (e.g., cognitive-behavioral therapy). This study highlights the usefulness of examining not only provision of services but also recommendation/referral practices : professionals are important sources of information for families. Implications of the results are discussed in terms of the importance of disseminating intervention information to professionals and the need for consensus on terminology used to classify interventions and on criteria used to evaluate intervention efficacy.

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8. Wood JJ, McLeod BD, Klebanoff S, Brookman-Frazee L. Toward the Implementation of Evidence-Based Interventions for Youth With Autism Spectrum Disorders in Schools and Community Agencies. Behavior therapy. 2015 ;46(1):83-95.

Evidence-based interventions (EBIs) for youth with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are rarely found in community settings where most youth with ASD receive services. Implementation research designed to help bridge this gap is needed. However, efforts to implement EBIs in community settings face a number of barriers. The main purpose of this article is to illustrate how making EBIs more flexible and integrative may help improve their utility and may increase their uptake by stakeholders in community mental health and school settings. We conclude with an example of a modular, stepped-care program that might help bridge the science-practice gap in the ASD field by combining elements of a number of existing EBIs into a single, flexible intervention.

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