|Year : 2019 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 31-36
Play-based occupational therapy intervention on social skills in children with autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: A case series
Kinkuri Sahib Kaur1, Ranjit Pathak2
1 Department of Occupational Therapy, Inspiration the Learning Centre, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Occupational Therapy, IAHSET, Government Medical College, Haldwani, Uttarakhand, India
|Date of Submission||01-Mar-2019|
|Date of Acceptance||05-Mar-2019|
|Date of Web Publication||19-Apr-2019|
Dr. Kinkuri Sahib Kaur
H-379, Jalvayu Vihar, Sector 30, Gurgaon - 122 001, Haryana
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
The profound deficit in social reciprocity skills is the core underlying feature of the autism spectrum disorder. Inattention and impulsivity of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder children interferes with their ability to accurately identify, imitate, and model appropriate social behaviors. Social skill is any skill that facilitates interaction and communication with others, and evidence suggests that they can be acquired with specific training, opportunities, and practices. Literature suggests that in a developmental approach to social skills training, play is used as the primary medium for intervention, especially with younger children. Three children in the age group of 4–5 years were selected for the study. Socialization domain of the Vineland adaptive behavior scales-second edition was used to get the baseline scores. The children participated in the play-based occupational therapy intervention and each session was carried out for 60 min, twice a week. The children were reassessed after 6 months. The scores' data showed an upward trend and the socialization score of child 1, 2, and 3 improved by 11.6%, 14.8%, and 8.3%, respectively.
Keywords: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism, Intervention, Play, Social Skills
|How to cite this article:|
Kaur KS, Pathak R. Play-based occupational therapy intervention on social skills in children with autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: A case series. Indian J Occup Ther 2019;51:31-6
|How to cite this URL:|
Kaur KS, Pathak R. Play-based occupational therapy intervention on social skills in children with autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: A case series. Indian J Occup Ther [serial online] 2019 [cited 2020 Oct 28];51:31-6. Available from: http://www.ijotonweb.org/text.asp?2019/51/1/31/256603
| Introduction|| |
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts. They face challenges with social engagement and age-appropriate play and fail to develop appropriate peer relationships according to their developmental level. Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have significant problems with executive functions. They display deficient social skills that may lead to disturbed interactions and social rejection.
Social skills may be defined as socially acceptable learned behaviors that enable person to interact with others in ways that elicit positive responses and assist in avoiding negative responses. In the past 10–15 years, social skills interventions have become increasingly sophisticated, including play, perspective taking, and conversation skills. There is no denying that play is fun, and certainly fun is its biggest draw for children. However, as children play, they also develop critical cognitive, emotional, social, and physical skills. Play therapy helps children learn new social skills and relational skills with family. Peer strategies are used as a vehicle for increasing learning and improving social relationships of students with autism and other developmental disabilities. Play therapy acts as an effective way for learning, developing and enhancing social skills and play is used as the primary medium for intervention, especially with younger children. Interventions designed to improve social difficulties have demonstrated minimal effectiveness. Thus, there is a clear need to establish interventions that are effective in addressing the social difficulties of children with ASD and ADHD.
| Patient Information|| |
Child 1 was 5 years and 6 months-old-boy diagnosed with ADHD, studying in Grade 1. He was the second born child and born from a nonconsanguineous marriage. He was born at term gestation with normal birth weight. No significant antenatal and postnatal complications were reported. Developmentally he started sitting without support by 8 months and walking independently by 1 year.
Child 2 was 4 years and 5 months-old-boy diagnosed with ADHD, studying in nursery class. He was the only child and born from a nonconsanguineous marriage. He was born at full term by cesarean delivery. He cried immediately after birth. No significant antenatal and postnatal history was reported. Developmentally, he started sitting without support by 8 months and was walking independently by 16 months. He had mild language delay, and speech still lacks clarity.
Child 3 was 5 years and 5 months-old-boy diagnosed with ASD, studying in Grade 1. He was the second born child, born from a nonconsanguineous marriage. He was born at full term by normal delivery. No significant antenatal and postnatal history was noted. However, he had a history of neonatal jaundice and was given phototherapy for it. Early developmental milestones have been normal for age with language delays.
| Clinical Findings|| |
Clinical findings of the three children are summarized in [Table 1].
The study was conducted between May 2014 and November 2014 at the Inspiration Centre, New Delhi. Written informed consent was taken from the parents before the study initiation.
On day 1, baseline scores of Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales-Second Edition (VABS-II) were taken of all the three children and then 24 weeks intervention protocol was administered. On the last day, scores were reassessed. The study flowchart is shown in [Figure 1].
VABS-II was used as a preintervention and postintervention measure. The test is designed to measure adaptive behavior of individuals from birth to age 90. In this study, only socialization domain was used.
- Interpersonal Relationships: How the individual interacts with others
- Play and Leisure Time: How the individual plays and uses leisure time
- Coping skills: How the individual demonstrates responsibility and sensitivity to others.
The baseline scores are summarized in [Figure 2].
Play-based intervention sessions were carried out for 60 min, twice a week for 24 weeks. One parent per child was present during the assessments and one parent per child in rotation per session participated in the group intervention sessions. This was done for gaining trust and compliance of parents for the child's therapy sessions. The focus in the sessions was on the symbolic play, pretend play, rule-based play and role play. Various social skills such as greetings, turn-taking, sharing materials, helping others, asking permission, encouraging others, asking for help, apologizing, waiting patiently, listening actively, following rules, and initiating a conversation were practiced using play as a medium. Star chart, token economy, and balloons were used to reinforce the learning skill and correct behavior. The sessions were videotaped, and debriefing of the session was done after every session and it was documented. The 60 min session was divided into four parts. [Table 2] and [Figure 3] show the summary of intervention session.
Follow-Up and Outcomes
After intervention, all the three children showed improvement in all the three subdomains. The scores' data showed an upward trend and the socialization score of child 1, 2, and 3 improved by 11.6%, 14.8%, and 8.3%, respectively.
The outcomes are summarized in [Figure 2].
| Discussion|| |
The purpose of this study was to see the effect of play-based occupational therapy (OT) intervention on social skills on three children diagnosed with ASD and ADHD. Their Preintervention and Postintervention scores of socialization domain and its subcomponents (interpersonal, play and leisure, and coping skills) were compared using VABS-II.
Improvement in all the three subdomains of the socialization domain was recorded. This result is supported by Barry et al., which reported that greeting and play skills were improved with the use of structured play sessions; however, less clear improvement was seen in conversation skills. Hurley-Geffner mentioned that much clear research exits on the benefits of friendships in relation to the facilitation of social development. A meta-analysis conducted by Bratton, et al. of 93 controlled outcome studies too showed strong effectiveness of play-based interventions for changing behavior and improving social adjustments and Stichter et al. reported that children age 11–14 with high functioning autism or Asperger syndrome showed significant improvement in social skills using cognitive behavioral principles. Similarly, The National Association for the Education of Young Children in a 2009 position paper described the play as an “important vehicle for developing self-regulation as well as for promoting language, cognition, and social competence.” They describe how research shows links between play and foundational capacities such as memory, self-regulation, oral language abilities, social skills, and success in school. Data collected on students with autism using peer buddy approach by Laushey and Heflin also indicated that there was a significant increase in appropriate social interactions. Another study by Legoff and Sherman, showed significant improvement in the communication and socialization domains of the VABS using LEGO play and the no-intervention control group did not improve significantly. Furthermore, Baggerly and Parker (2005) also suggested that play therapy acts as an effective way for learning, developing, and enhancing social skills and reducing anxiety. However, Ozonoff and Miller showed no improvement in social competence in autism by giving social skill training and small-to-moderate improvement was shown by Cotter and Provencal.
The interpersonal relationship subdomain scores of the children demonstrated improvement, supported by La Greca and Santogrossi, as their study demonstrated increased skill in a role-play situation, a greater verbal knowledge of how to interact with peers, and more initiation of peer interactions in school. Interventions based on principles of applied behavior analysis have been shown to improve functional communication skills in children with ASD and decrease problematic behaviors such as aggression. However teacher-report data from a multi-component social skills intervention by Beaumont and Sofronoff, suggested that there was no difference in the improvements made by children in the intervention and control conditions on facial expression, and body-posture recognition measures and Barry et al. said that despite specific instruction, however, improvement in conversation skills showed smaller effects. This difference in improvement across skills may indicate that some skills are more amenable for teaching using scripts and concrete rules, while perhaps “higher level” skills (e.g., maintaining a conversation) require different teaching approaches.
The play and leisure subdomain scores of the children demonstrated improvement. A study by Barry et al. supported the result and found that play skills and greeting skills (based on coded observations) improved when they were specifically taught.
The coping skills subdomain scores of the children demonstrated improvement. Teacher-report data from a multi-component social skills intervention by Beaumont and Sofronoff supported this and confirmed that treatment group participants were able to suggest better appropriate emotion-management strategies for story characters at postintervention than at preintervention, whereas control participants were not.
The following limitations are found in the study:
- Participants were selected from only one institution with narrow age range; hence, the result cannot be generalized
- As the scores of the subjects were dependent on parental perception about the child, parental bias may have affected the scores
- Follow-up to see the long-term effects of play based intervention were not conducted.
Recommendations for the Future Research
- A replication of this study on a large sample to enhance the validity of the study
- As this study was a case series design and subjects were taken from one institution, future studies with other designs and different institutions (rural-urban) can be done for generalization of results
- A longitudinal study should be done to see the effect of play-based intervention on the social skills of ASD and ADHD children.
| Conclusion|| |
We studied the effects of play-based OT intervention on the social skills of children with ASD and ADHD. The findings of the study demonstrate that the play-based OT intervention has an effect on the social skills of children with ASD and ADHD. The scores' data showed an upward trend from pre- to postintervention in all the three children. The interpersonal relationship score of Child 1, 2, and 3 improved by 8.7%, 10.5%, and 5%, respectively. The play and leisure time score of Child 1, 2, and 3 improved by 7.5%, 8.8%, and 7.5%, respectively. The coping skills score of Child 1, 2, and 3 improved by 18.8%, 25%, and 12.5%, respectively.
Declaration of Patient Consent
The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate parent's consent forms. In the form the parents have given their consent for their child's images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The parents understand that their child's names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed. The study was conducted adhering to the principles of Declaration of Helsinki.
We would like to thank the Director of Inspiration the learning centre, New Delhi for the permission and support to conduct the study. We would also like to thank Dr. Ebenezer Wilson Rajkumar D., Dr. Amitabh K. Dwivedi, Dr. Santosh Kumar and Dr. Santosh Shintre for their guidance and teachings. Last but not the least the parents, who willingly enrolled their children for the study and rendered corporation in promptly attending the intervention sessions and throughout the course of data collection.
Financial Support and Sponsorship
Conflicts of Interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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[Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]
[Table 1], [Table 2]