A Randomised Controlled Trial of an Information Communication Technology Delivered Intervention for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Living in Regional Australia

Abstract

This exploratory randomised controlled trial tested the effectiveness of a tablet-based information communication technology early intervention application to augment existing therapy with the aim of improving visual motor, imitation, language and social skills in young children with ASD who reside in regional areas. Fifty-nine participants were recruited and randomised to either a therapy-as-usual group or intervention group. With the exception of the expressive language subscale on the Mullen Scales of Early Learning, no significant between-group differences were recorded for visual motor, imitation, receptive language and social skills of participants between baseline and post-intervention. When all participants were pooled and measured over time, improvements were shown in receptive and pragmatic language and social skills; these gains were maintained, thus suggesting skill acquisition.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to acknowledge the support of the Lishman Health Foundation for funding this research project. The authors would also like to acknowledge the support of the South West Autism Group (SWAN) and the Telethon Kids Institute. The funders had no role in the analysis or drafting of this manuscript.

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Authors

Contributions

DP conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination, performed the measurement, performed the statistical analysis, interpreted the data and drafted the manuscript; RC participated in the design and coordination, assisted with statistical analysis and interpretation of the data, and helped to draft the manuscript; HL participated in the design and coordination of the study, and interpretation of the data; TF conceived of the study and participated in its design and coordination, and SV conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination, interpretation of the data. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Dave Parsons.

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Conflict of interest

The application described in this paper is available online through the Apple iTunes store. The authors (and funders) have no affiliation with the application or its developers and will not receive, or have previously received, any royalties from sales.

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Parsons, D., Cordier, R., Lee, H. et al. A Randomised Controlled Trial of an Information Communication Technology Delivered Intervention for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Living in Regional Australia. J Autism Dev Disord 49, 569–581 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-018-3734-3

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Keywords

  • Information technology
  • RCT design
  • Parent training
  • Early intervention