Identifying predictors of intervention responsivity for children with high functioning autism
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are characterized by impairments in both social and communicative domains and the presence of repetitive and restricted interests. Most pressing for this population is the challenge of interacting functionally in the natural environment due to deficits in social competence. Interventions that address deficits associated with autism are not universally effective across the autism spectrum due in part to the heterogeneity of symptom presentation. Although previous research has identified several characteristics that may be predictive of improved treatment outcomes, this research does not distinguish phenotypically distinct subtypes and does not inform treatment decisions. The purpose of this study was to examine behavioral phenotypes present in the subtype of individuals with high functioning autism within the context of an established social program (Social Competency Intervention). The objectives of this study were to examine the extent to which characteristics of elementary aged participants with autism predict treatment responsivity and to identify distinct behavioral phenotypes that can predict response to treatment. The results of this study indicate that low pre-treatment ASD specific impairments and Theory of Mind abilities were predictive of intervention outcomes. Additionally, the results support the presence of distinct behavioral phenotypes, which may predict treatment responsivity. Interpretation of these results is presented in addition to study limitations and future directions for research.
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