Effectiveness of a Summer Intervention Program for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Steffey, Gina K
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With 1 in 110 children being diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, there is a great need for programs tailored to helping these individuals with deficits they may have in the behavioral, emotional, social, and physical arenas of their lives. · Many treatment methods have been created in recent years with a goal of helping to decrease problem behaviors while increasing desirable behaviors in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Although many behavioral based treatment programs are available during the school year in combination with special education and other programs, there are very few options available to autistic individuals and their families during the summer months. Due to the lack of summer programs available to these individuals, many experience the loss or regression of certain previously acquired behavioral, emotional, self-help, and social skills learned during the school year. Although many families often view these months as a burden, the amount of free time during summer months should be viewed as an opportunity to work with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder for an extended period of time to implement new skills. This study looks at the effectiveness of a week long behavioral based summer intervention program using pre- and post-camp BASC, a rating scale used to measure various categories of an individual's behavior, and questionnaire scores that evaluated the improvements of the participants' behavior, emotional recognition/regulation, social skills, and physical health. Although toe sample size was very small, individual scores from the BASC and the surveys showed overall improvement in the 4 areas. These encouraging results show that summer does not have to mean regression for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, but can mean improvements in behavior, emotional regulation, self help skills, and social skills.