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Res Autism Spectr Disord. 2015 Oct 1;18:51-63.

A comparison of the effects of rhythm and robotic interventions on repetitive behaviors and affective states of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Author information

1
Department of Physical Therapy, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19713, USA ; Biomechanics & Movement Science Program, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19713, USA.
2
Department of Kinesiology, Physical Therapy Program, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA.
3
Department of Music Education, School of Fine Arts, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA.
4
Department of Physical Therapy, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19713, USA ; Biomechanics & Movement Science Program, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19713, USA ; Department of Kinesiology, Physical Therapy Program, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA ; Behavioral Neuroscience Program, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19713, USA ; Center for Health, Intervention, and Prevention, Department of Psychology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA.

Abstract

Repetitive behaviors and poor affect regulation are commonly seen in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). We compared the effects of two novel interventions - rhythm and robotic therapies, with those of a standard-of-care intervention, on the repetitive behaviors and affective states of 36 children with ASD between 5 and 12 years using a randomized controlled trial design. We coded for frequencies of sensory, negative, and stereotyped behaviors and the duration of positive, negative, and interested affective states in children during early, mid, and late training sessions. In terms of repetitive behaviors, in the early session, the rhythm and robot groups engaged in greater negative behaviors, whereas the comparison group engaged in greater sensory behaviors. With training, the rhythm group reduced negative behaviors whereas there were no training-related changes in the other groups. In terms of affective states, the rhythm and robot groups showed greater negative affect, whereas the comparison group demonstrated greater interested affect across all sessions. With training, the rhythm group showed a reduction in negative affect and an increase in interested affect whereas the robot group showed a reduction in positive affect. Overall, it appears that rhythm-based interventions are socially engaging treatment tools to target core impairments in autism.

KEYWORDS:

Music; affective states; autism; multisystem interventions; repetitive behaviors; rhythm; robots

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