Beyond intervention into daily life: A systematic review of generalisation following social communication interventions for young children with autism

Loading...
Thumbnail Image
File version

Version of Record (VoR)

Author(s)
Carruthers, Sophie
Pickles, Andrew
Slonims, Vicky
Howlin, Patricia
Charman, Tony
Griffith University Author(s)
Primary Supervisor
Other Supervisors
Editor(s)
Date
2020
Size
File type(s)
Location
Abstract

Researchers have generally considered autistic individuals to have difficulties generalising learned skills across novel contexts. Successful generalisation is necessary for an intervention to have benefits in everyday life beyond the original learning environment. We conducted a systematic review of randomised controlled trials of early social communication interventions for children with autism in order to explore generalisation and its measurement. We identified nine RCTs that provided evidence of initial target learning and measured generalisation, of which eight demonstrated at least some successful generalisation across people, settings, and/or activities. The findings did not support the widely reported generalisation 'difficulties' associated with autism. However, generalisation was not consistent across all skills within studies, and one study found no generalisation despite evidence for initial target learning within the intervention context. In general, there are few methodologically sound social communication intervention studies exploring generalisation in autism and no consensus on how it should be measured. In particular, failure to demonstrate initial learning of target skills within the intervention setting and an absence of formal mediation analyses of the hypothesised mechanisms limit current research. We outline a framework within which measurement of generalisation can be considered for use in future trials. To maximise the effectiveness of interventions, the field needs to gain a better understanding of the nature of generalisation among autistic individuals and what additional strategies may further enhance learning. Autism Res 2020, 13: 506-522. © 2020 The Authors. Autism Research published by International Society for Autism Research published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. LAY SUMMARY: It is generally considered that autistic individuals experience difficulties applying things they have learned in one context into different settings (e.g. from school to home). This is important to consider for intervention studies. Our review does not support a complete lack of generalisation but instead suggests that after early social communication intervention, autistic children can transfer some skills to new contexts. Overall, there is limited research in this area and further work is needed.

Journal Title

Autism Research

Conference Title
Book Title
Edition
Volume

13

Issue

4

Thesis Type
Degree Program
School
Publisher link
Patent number
Funder(s)
Grant identifier(s)
Rights Statement
Rights Statement

© 2020 The Authors. Autism Research published by International Society for Autism Research published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Item Access Status
Note
Access the data
Related item(s)
Subject

Clinical sciences

Neurosciences

Psychology

Science & Technology

Social Sciences

Life Sciences & Biomedicine

Behavioral Sciences

Psychology, Developmental

Persistent link to this record
Citation

Carruthers, S; Pickles, A; Slonims, V; Howlin, P; Charman, T, Beyond intervention into daily life: A systematic review of generalisation following social communication interventions for young children with autism, Autism Research, 2020, 13 (4), pp. 506-522

Collections