Resilience Builder Program Therapy Addresses Core Social Deficits and Emotion Dysregulation in Youth with High-Functioning Autism Spectrum DisorderPaula A Aduen1, Brendan A Rich1*, Lisa Sanchez2, Kelly O’Brien2,3 and Mary K Alvord2
- Corresponding Author:
- Dr. Brendan A. Rich, Ph.D
Department of Psychology
The Catholic University of America 620 Michigan Ave
NE Washington, DC 20064, USA
E-mail: [email protected]
Received date: July 25, 2013; Accepted date: May 12, 2014; Published date: May 20, 2014
Citation: Aduen PA, Rich BA, Sanchez L, O’Brien K, Alvord MK (2014) Resilience Builder Program Therapy Addresses Core Social Deficits and Emotion Dysregulation in Youth with High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder. J Psychol Abnorm Child 3:118. doi:10.4172/2329-9525.1000118
Copyright: © 2014 Aduen PA, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Background: Impaired social functioning has been shown to be the most persistent and permeating challenge for youth with High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder (HFASD) throughout development; therefore various interventions have been developed to target these social deficits. Research examining the efficacy of manualized social skills intervention programs remains limited and treatment outcome has been predominantly studied in academic research settings. Moreover, conclusions regarding the efficacy of social skills training programs have been mixed; suggesting therapy must address more than just social skills. The present study aimed to address the above research limitations by exploring the effectiveness of the Resilience Builder Program® (RBP), a manualized, 12-week resilience-based group therapy program, for children with HFASD within a clinical service setting. RBP addresses social competence deficits by targeting skills such as emotion regulation, resilience and social problem solving.
Methods: Data was collected from children ages 7-12 years who presented at a large private practice for treatment. Our sample was comprised of 17 children with HFASD (12 male; mean age = 11.04). Children were assessed on multiple domains of social, emotional, and behavioral functioning using measures given before beginning RBP and again after treatment ended.
Results: Findings revealed that parents endorsed significant improvement in their children’s general social skills and in specific social domains such as responsibility, communication and engagement after participating in RBP. Children reported an increased ability to communicate with adults and endorsed less negative emotion as well as increased emotion control.
Conclusion: Results suggest that after undergoing the 12-week RBP group therapy, children with HFASD showed improvement in social skills, mood and emotion regulation. Despite aiming to treat heterogeneous social deficits, RBP successfully addressed core ASD social impairments. Results have important implications for expanded access to empirically-based treatments for HFASD youth in the clinical service settings in which they most frequently receive treatment.