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Narrative Intervention for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) (Gillam et al., 2015)

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posted on 2015-06-01, 00:00 authored by Sandra Laing Gillam, Daphne Hartzheim, Breanna Studenka, Vicki Simonsmeier, Ronald Gillam
Purpose This study was conducted to determine whether a narrative intervention program that targeted the use of mental state and causal language resulted in positive gains in narrative production for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Method Five children (2 girls and 3 boys) who had been diagnosed with ASD participated in the study. Children ranged in age from 8 to 12 years and were recruited through an autism clinic. Intervention was provided for two 50-min individual sessions per week for a total of 21–33 sessions (depending on the student). Children's spontaneous stories, collected weekly, were analyzed for overall story complexity, story structure, and the use of mental state and causal language. Following a multiple-baseline across-participants design, data were collected for lagged baseline and intervention phases over a 6-month period.
Results All of the children made gains on all 3 measures of narration after participating in the instruction, with clear changes in level for all 5 children and changes in trend for 4 of the 5 children. The gains were maintained after intervention was discontinued.
Conclusion The results demonstrate the efficacy of the 3-phase narrative instruction program for improving the fictional narration abilities of children with ASD.


The narrative intervention used in this project was developed with funds from the Institute for Educational Sciences (IES) awarded to S. Gillam and R. Gillam and from Utah State University, Logan, Utah (R324A100063). The authors would like to thank Anne Elsweiler, Emily Chandler, Rebecca Roylance, Sarah Clements, Casey Ragan, Casey Laing, Tanner Price, Logan Woolstenhulme, Ari Watt, Laura Peters, Thomas Christensen, DeVanie Hatfield, Abbie Lewis, Mallory Bond, Camilly Wynn, and the parents and children who participated in this project. Without the dedication and commitment of these faculty, students, and families, this work would not have been possible.


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