Monday, February 10, 2014

Effects of Platform Swing on Independent Work in Children with Autism

Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities published research of the effects of using a platform swing on independent work behaviors in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).  The research was a pretest - posttest randomized design with 30 children with ASD.  All individuals in the study participated in 2 five minute intervals of independent work.  The experimental group received vestibular stimulation via a platform swing and the control group watched a video in between the intervals of independent work.

The results indicated the following:
  • no significant differences were recorded between the treatment and control groups on engagement, on-task behavior, stereotyped/repetitive behavior, or out-of-seat behavior.
Here are some additional details:
  • the vestibular stimulation was slow, linear motion on a platform swing for 5 minutes per sensory break.  The study does not indicate the position of the participant on the platform swing.
  • for data collection there was video analysis of the child’s on task behaviors coded by 4 different behaviors - on-task, engaged, stereotyped/repetitive, or out of seat.
  • post hoc analysis of the sensory profiles (Dunn 1999) showed that 66% of the 15 participants were classified as seekers, 14% of those with the seeking/underresponsive pattern and three could not be classified.  The participants without classifications improved. However, similar patterns were identified in the control group.  Two participants were classified as overresponsive in each group – the 2 children in the treatment group did not evidence improvement
Overall, the researchers stated that the clinical implications of this study indicate that “Any SI treatment should be provided cautiously, in short-term increments with individual improvements documented before continuing intervention with a given client”.

Reference:    Linda C. Murdock, John A. Dantzler, Anne N. Walker, and L. Becca Wood The Effect of a Platform Swing on the Independent Work Behaviors of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities March 2014 29: 50-61, first published on November 12, 2013 doi:10.1177/1088357613509838

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