Date of Award
Mindfulness-based programs (MBPs) provide a way for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to self-manage challenging behaviors, which may ameliorate the need for more intensive individual interventions in schools. Using a concurrent multiple baseline design, our study examined whether Meditation on the Soles of the Feet (SoF), a brief MBP, can reduce challenging behavior in children with ASD when delivered by a natural intervention agent in an elementary school setting. Three 9-to-10-year old children with ASD, presenting with high rates of challenging behavior and IQ scores above 85, were recruited from a private special education school. Following baseline data collection, SoF was implemented across five 20-30 minute sessions by the school mental health counselor one-on-one with each student and fidelity of implementation was monitored. Results found that, from pre- to post-treatment, all 3 students showed a significant mean baseline reduction of observed challenging behavior in individually identified problematic contexts, while 1 of 3 showed a decrease in overall teacher-reported challenging behavior on the SESBI-R. Teacher social validity ratings indicated the acceptability, feasibility, and effectiveness of SoF for use in school settings, while 2 of 3 students indicated that the treatment was socially valid. Although teacher-rated overall challenging behavior on the SESBI-R did not consistently decrease, SoF reduced individually-defined observable challenging behavior for each student in specific targeted contexts. Factors contributing to or limiting the effectiveness of SoF with students having ASD and challenging behavior are discussed.
Shah, Monica, "Soles of the Feet Mindfulness-Based Program for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Challenging Behavior" (2020). Theses and Dissertations. 127.