Autistic Adolescents’ Experiences and Perspectives of Behavioral Interventions

What's the study about?

This study aims to gain information about the perspectives of autistic adolescents on behavioral interventions used for autistic children. Adolescents will participate in an interview where they will share about their experiences with behavioral interventions and their opinions on common goals, intervention strategies, and practices.

Who can participate?

  • Autistic adolescents (age 13-17)
  • Must be able to comprehend and answer age-appropriate questions

  • What will participants be doing?

    Participants and their caregiver will engage in a consent/assent process at the beginning of the meeting. Once they consent, participants will be asked a variety of interview questions regarding their experiences with and opinions on behavioral interventions, which will take 30-60 minutes. Participants will also be asked for some demographic information at the end of the interview.

    Why is this important?

    Behavioral intervention is one of the most common forms of intervention for autistic children. Applied behavioral analysis (ABA), as it is often referred to, uses reinforcement contingencies (i.e. antecedent-behavior-consequence) and is usually used with young autistic children in in-home therapy, though it is also utilized in classrooms and centers.
    However, many autistic self-advocates have been vocal about potential damaging effects of behavioral intervention, with concerns about the use of aversive punishments, an overfocus on compliance, and a goal to reduce autistic traits to make children appear more “normal”. While some advocates recognize that individuals on the spectrum often need supports (Kapp et al., 2013), many autistic advocates call for supports than focus on improving quality of life, as opposed to reduction of autistic characteristics (Robertson, 2009). Given the complaints of the autistic community, but the continued acknowledgement that some people need support, it is imperative that autistic voices be included in the intervention research literature in order to improve these interventions such that they will be socially valid to autistic people.

    More Research studies from this topic: Interventions