Self-initiations in young children with autism during Pivotal Response Treatment with and without robot assistance.

Self-initiations in young children with autism during Pivotal Response Treatment with and without robot assistance.

Publication date: Jul 30, 2020

The initiation of social interaction is often defined as a core deficit of autism spectrum disorder. Optimizing these self-initiations is therefore a key component of Pivotal Response Treatment, an established intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder. However, little is known about the development of self-initiations during intervention and whether this development can be facilitated by robot assistance within Pivotal Response Treatment. The aim of this study was to (1) investigate the effect of Pivotal Response Treatment and robot-assisted Pivotal Response Treatment on self-initiations (functional and social) of young children with autism spectrum disorder over the course of intervention and (2) explore the relation between development in self-initiations and additional gains in general social-communicative skills. Forty-four children with autism spectrum disorder (aged 3-8?years) were included in this study. Self-initiations were assessed during parent-child interaction videos of therapy sessions and coded by raters who did not know which treatment (Pivotal Response Treatment or robot-assisted Pivotal Response Treatment) the child received. General social-communicative skills were assessed before start of the treatment, after 10 and 20?weeks of intervention and 3?months after the treatment was finalized. Results showed that self-initiations increased in both treatment groups, with the largest improvements in functional self-initiations in the group that received robot-assisted Pivotal Response Treatment. Increased self-initiations were related to higher parent-rated social awareness 3?months after finalizing the treatment.

Concepts Keywords
Autism Psychiatry
Autism Spectrum Disorder Psychiatric diagnosis
Robot Abnormal psychology
Social Interaction Autism
Learning disabilities
Pervasive developmental disorders
Autism therapies
Pivotal response treatment


Type Source Name
disease MESH autism
disease MESH social interaction
disease MESH autism spectrum disorder
disease MESH development

Original Article

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