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News In Research and Intervention

Peer-Mediated Discrete Trial Training Shows Positve Results

A recent study indicates that peer-mediated discrete trial training shows positive results in targeted academic skills in students with autism spectrum disorder. Following brief training, elementary-age students were shown to be able to implement discrete trial training with integrity. Student interventionists reported high levels of satisfaction in the training. They were able to produce measurable growth in the students with ASD with whom they worked. As it is often difficult to implement DTT within the school setting due to various limitations, peer-mediated DTT may prove beneficial. Although this was a small study, using just six typically developing students, results of this study of peer-mediated DTT within school settings are promising.

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Pivotal Response Treatment Shows Promising Results

A recent study revealed the positive benefits of pivotal response treatment in young children with autism spectrum disorder. Pivotal response treatment is similar to applied behavior analysis but more specifically targets the social deficits seen in children with autism. The study included 10 preschoolers with autism. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was performed on the children both at the beginning of the study and after a period of exposure to pivotal response treatment. All children showed substantial movement towards the neural responses seen in typically developing children. Of note is the fact that both the children who exhibited hypoactivation in the right posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS) and hyperactivation of the pSTS demonstrated movement towards typical neural responses. These promising results suggest that further studies should be performed to consider the benefits of pivotal response treatment in individuals with autism spectrum disorder.

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Train the Trainer Effectiveness for Individuals with Autism

In a recent article, published in the American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Yoshiko-Shire and Kasari (2014) compiled a systematic review of train the trainer effectiveness of behavior interventions. Results indicated that participants are benefiting from behavioral interventions in the areas of cognition, language and autism symptoms post-community delivered interventions. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the primary behavioral intervention used in the examined studies. The outcome effects for participants with ASD varied based on their developmental level. Train the trainer supports interventionists and community trainers to provide preliminary support for the provision of behavior services to individuals with ASD. Yoshiko-Shire and Kasari (2014) indicate that train the trainer literature should expand to include social communication skills to include varied participant outcomes.

Reference: Yoshiko-Shire, S., & Kasari, C. (2014). Train the trainer effectiveness trials of behavioral intervention for individuals with autism: A systematic review. American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 119(5), 436-451.


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