Investigating the Association Between Restricted Interests and Language Abilities As Groundwork for Novel Intervention Development
Objectives: The purpose of the present study is to identify specific phenotypic and language traits within individuals with ASD that may make them well-suited for interventions that are designed to utilize circumscribed interests, rather than reduce or eliminate them. Specifically, this investigation seeks to clarify the relationship between language level and intensity of restricted interest in school-aged children with ASD.
Methods: Participants will include approximately thirty children (ages 6 years, 0 months to 10 years, 11 months; including females) with a diagnosis of ASD recruited from a multidisciplinary autism clinic. Each child will be administered various language tasks, including verbal subscales from the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence Scale-2nd Edition (WASI-II; Wechsler, 2011), the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, 4th Edition (PPVT-4; Dunn & Dunn, 2007) and the Pragmatics Profile of the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals, 5thEdition (CELF-5; Wiig, Semel, & Secord, 2013). In addition, parent reporters will be asked to complete the Interest Scale (Bodfish, 2014) and the Affinities Scale, an original measure adapted from the Interests Scale to specifically assess the level of interest in contemporary movies and characters that could be utilized in treatment technologies.
Results: Data collection is ongoing. Results will include sample descriptive data, means and standard deviations of the proposed outcome measures, and Pearson correlation statistics for restricted interest levels and various language abilities.
Conclusions: Results from the present study will help to clarify our understanding of the direction and strength of the relationship between restricted interests and language skills in school-aged children with ASD. These findings will significantly contribute to our limited knowledge of restricted or circumscribed interests and will directly inform subsequent intervention design and implementation. Results will contribute to a small, but emerging body of evidence that a new approach to addressing restricted interests in therapeutic interventions for some individuals with ASD may be warranted.
See more of: Sensory, Motor, and Repetitive Behaviors and Interests