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Development and Feasibility of MindChip™: A Social Emotional Telehealth Intervention for Autistic Adults

Abstract

The study aims to develop and pilot a telehealth social emotional program, MindChip™ delivered with a computer based interventions (CBI) (Mind Reading©) for autistic adults. MindChip™ combined four theoretical perspectives and community feedback underpinning the essential mechanisms for targeting the social emotional understanding of autistic adults. A randomised pragmatic pilot trial (N = 25) was conducted to explore the feasibility of MindChip™ (n = 11) and to understand the preliminary efficacy of combining it with CBI compared to CBI only (n = 14). The use of MindChip™ and CBI combined demonstrated partial feasibility, with preliminary efficacy findings revealing increased emotion recognition generalisation outcomes compared to CBI only. Further research is required to improve the engagement and personalisation of the intervention for autistic adults.

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Notes

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    It is acknowledged that person first and identity first terminology has been a topic of considerable debate in the autism community. We understand that these preferences can be dependent on the individual and country. Given that this project is conducted under the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC), identity first language (i.e. autistic adults) was identified as the preferred terminology. Hence, the term ‘autistic adults’ was used to align with the preferences of the autism community in Australia.

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Acknowledgments

The authors acknowledge the financial support of the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC) [Project Number 3.032RS], established and supported under the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Program. JT was supported by funding from an Australian Postgraduate Award scholarship from the Australian Federal Government and a top-up scholarship from the Autism CRC.

Author Contributions

All authors contributed to the study conception and design. Data collection and analysis were performed by JT. MF, NC, SB and SG contributed to the interpretation of the data. The first draft of the manuscript was written by JT. MF, NC, SB and SG contributed to the revision of the draft. All authors contributed to and have approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Julia S. Y. Tang.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. SB reports no direct conflict of interest related to this article. SB discloses that he has in the last 5 years acted as an author, consultant or lecturer for Shire, Medice, Roche, Eli Lilly, Prima Psychiatry, GLGroup, System Analytic, Kompetento, Expo Medica, and Prophase. He receives royalties for text books and diagnostic tools from Huber/Hogrefe, Kohlhammer and UTB.

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Tang, J.S.Y., Falkmer, M., Chen, N.T.M. et al. Development and Feasibility of MindChip™: A Social Emotional Telehealth Intervention for Autistic Adults. J Autism Dev Disord 51, 1107–1130 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-020-04592-3

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Keywords

  • Autism
  • Computer-based
  • Emotion recognition
  • Mentoring
  • Technology