Application of cognitive-behavioural approaches with children with autism spectrum disorder
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 16:01 by Betty Ho
This thesis by publication is focused on the application of cognitive-behavioural approaches (CBA) with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), in particular, in school settings. ASD is a developmental disorder with a range of difficulties in the behaviour, emotion and cognitive functioning of the affected individual. CBA is considered an extension to traditional behavioural approaches with the benefits of addressing behaviour, emotion and cognition concurrently. Three review papers and two research studies are presented in this thesis. A trend-analysis was conducted for intervention studies examining 103 reports of CBA interventions for children with ASD providing an overview of the evolution of research over time. RCTs were examined using meta-analytic techniques, revealing large overall effect sizes. These findings from the meta-analysis were in the context of the moderate quality of the research studies, extensive reliance on informant reports as major outcome measures and substantial heterogeneity in the interventions. Given the diverse nature of interventions and outcome measures, a systematic literature review was conducted for intervention studies published to examine relationships between intervention aims, intervention content and outcome measures. Inconsistency was found between these intervention elements. A survey study and a qualitative interview study were conducted to investigate the application of CBA by teachers in school settings. Respondents in the teacher survey self-reported reasonable level of knowledge and frequent use of CBA strategies although applications were not necessarily consistent with research evidence. Meanwhile interviewees in the in-depth teacher interviews demonstrated limited knowledge of CBA. The papers reported in this thesis contribute to our understanding the application of CBA to children with ASD with particular relevance to school settings.