Date of Award

7-24-2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Psychology

Committee Chair

Susan Tinsley Li, Ph.D.

Methodology

Action research

Abstract

Previous studies have evidenced favorable outcomes for early intensive behavioral intervention in research-based settings for children and adolescents diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). The purpose of the current study was to investigate the clinical utility of intensive behavioral intervention in an independent community-based setting for children diagnosed with ASDs. This study provides evidence that intensive behavioral intervention can be effective for increasing adaptive behaviors and for decreasing problem behaviors. This study was unable to effectively answer the question of whether changes in adaptive and maladaptive functioning are related to treatment intensity as defined by the number of hours of intervention per week. Finally, this study provides limited evidence for using the Scales of Independent Behavior-Revised (SIB-R) to distinguish between the autism spectrum disorders of Autistic Disorder, PDD-NOS, and Asperger’s Disorder based on adaptive and problem behavior scores. This study contributes to the literature regarding community-based interventions for autism spectrum disorders. In summary, this study concludes that intensive behavior intervention in a community-based setting can result in increases in adaptive behaviors and decreases in problem behaviors for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders.

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