For years, the behavioral and developmental camps have argued over which theory is more effective in teaching communication and other skills to preschool-aged children with autism. Basically, behaviorists believe learning occurs through reinforcement or reward while developmental advocates stress learning through important interactions with caregivers.
But while the theories differ, the actual methods the two camps ultimately use to teach children can be strikingly similar, especially when the treatment is naturalistic, or unstructured, said Brooke Ingersoll, MSU assistant professor of psychology.
In the January issue of the Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, Ingersoll contends that advocates of the behavioral and developmental approaches should set aside their differences and use the best practices from each to meet the needs of the student and the strengths of the parent or teacher.
“We need to stop getting so hung up on whether the behavioral approach is better than the developmental approach and vice versa,” Ingersoll said. “What we really need to start looking at is what are the actual intervention techniques being used and how are these effective.”
An estimated one out of every 110 children in the United States has autism and the number of diagnosed cases is growing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms typically surface by a child’s second birthday and the disorder is four to five times more likely to occur in boys than in girls.
Ingersoll said the behavioral and developmental treatment methods both can be effective on their own. But historically, advocates for each have rarely collaborated on treatment development for children with autism, meaning it’s unknown whether a combined approach is more effective.
Ingersoll expects it is. She is trained in both methods and has created a combined curriculum on social communication that she’s teaching to preschool instructors in Michigan’s Ottawa, Livingston and Clinton counties. Through the MSU-funded project, the instructors then teach the method to parents of autistic children.
Ingersoll said the combined method works, but it will probably take a few years of research to determine if it’s more effective than a singular approach.
“I’m not necessarily advocating for a new philosophical approach – the reality is that neither side is likely to change their philosophy,” Ingersoll said. “What I am advocating is more of a pragmatic approach that involves combining the interventions in different ways to meet the needs of the child or the caregiver. I think that will build better interventions.”
Michigan State University has been advancing knowledge and transforming lives through innovative teaching, research and outreach for more than 150 years. MSU is known internationally as a major public university with global reach and extraordinary impact. Its 17 degree-granting colleges attract scholars worldwide who are interested in combining education with practical problem solving.
Brooke Ingersoll | EurekAlert!
GLUT5 fluorescent probe fingerprints cancer cells
20.04.2018 | Michigan Technological University
Scientists re-create brain neurons to study obesity and personalize treatment
20.04.2018 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.
The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...
Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.
Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...
In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research
20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy