From the Journals: Environmental Enrichment as Autism Treatment In the first successful experiment with humans using a treatment known as sensory-motor or environmental enrichment, researchers documented marked improvement in young boys with autism when compared to traditional behavioral therapies, according to research published online in the American Psychological Association journal Behavioral Neuroscience, May 20, 2013. ... From the Journals
From the Journals  |   August 01, 2013
From the Journals: Environmental Enrichment as Autism Treatment
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Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / From the Journals
From the Journals   |   August 01, 2013
From the Journals: Environmental Enrichment as Autism Treatment
The ASHA Leader, August 2013, Vol. 18, 37-38. doi:10.1044/leader.FTJ6.18082013.38
The ASHA Leader, August 2013, Vol. 18, 37-38. doi:10.1044/leader.FTJ6.18082013.38
In the first successful experiment with humans using a treatment known as sensory-motor or environmental enrichment, researchers documented marked improvement in young boys with autism when compared to traditional behavioral therapies, according to research published online in the American Psychological Association journal Behavioral Neuroscience, May 20, 2013.
Researchers divided 28 boys with autism, ages 3 to 12, into two groups based on age and autism severity. For six months, both groups participated in standard behavioral therapy—but boys in one of the groups also underwent daily environmental enrichment exercises.
Parents of children in the enrichment group—with the help of kits containing scents, textured and household items, and manipulatives—conducted two daily sessions of four to seven exercises involving different combinations of sensory stimuli for touch, temperature, sight and movement. Each session took 15 to 30 minutes to complete. The children also listened to classical music once a day.
Following six months of treatment, 42 percent of the children in the enrichment group significantly improved in behaviors such as relating to people and responding to sights and sounds, compared to 7 percent of the standard care group. The children in the enrichment group also improved on scores for cognitive function, which covers aspects of perception and reasoning, whereas the average scores for the children in the standard care group decreased. In addition, 69 percent of parents in the enrichment group reported improvement in their child's overall autism symptoms, compared to 31
percent of parents in the standard care group.
The researchers are conducting a larger randomized clinical trial that includes girls. Another important next step will be to test environmental enrichment therapy when a child is not also receiving other standard treatments, the authors noted.
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August 2013
Volume 18, Issue 8