Behavioural monitoring of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: The development and evaluation of an Autism Behavioural Monitoring Scale (ABMS).

Ms Sarah Littmann-Power (). Behavioural monitoring of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: The development and evaluation of an Autism Behavioural Monitoring Scale (ABMS). Professional Doctorate, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Ms Sarah Littmann-Power
Thesis Title Behavioural monitoring of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: The development and evaluation of an Autism Behavioural Monitoring Scale (ABMS).
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Thesis type Professional Doctorate
Supervisor Associate Professor Ken McFarland
Total pages 114
Abstract/Summary ABSTRACT AND OVERVIEW Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurobiological developmental disability that affects an individual’s social skills, communication, and language acquisition from early childhood. A review of assessment tools presented in Chapter 1 showed that few of them are both available and suitable for monitoring the progress made by 3–5-year-olds with autism undertaking early intervention programs: no single test covered all the specific areas that were relevant to a program’s objectives, and they proved not to be appropriate (e.g., could not be used with non-verbal children) or economical in terms of both time and cost when used in a community-based early intervention centre. As detailed in Chapter 1, there is a clear need for an improved method of monitoring a child’s progress over time, and a method that allows monitoring the child’s progress independently by parents and staff. The primary aim of the work reported in this thesis was to devise and evaluate a behavioural monitoring instrument that could be used with 3–5-year-olds undertaking early intervention programs. This tool, referred to as the Autism Behavioural Monitoring Scale (ABMS), aims to provide a practical method of data collection that can be used by both parents and staff, and which achieves sound criteria in terms of validity and reliability. The review presented in Chapter 1 argues that six primary functional domains of behaviour needed to be assessed. Two of these were language and social skills; the others were four functional self-care domains relating to dressing, hygiene, toileting and feeding. These six domains constituted the base for six sub-scales of the ABMS. Chapter 2 provides further details of the development of the ABMS and provides an empirical investigation of the ABMS’s validity and reliability on two testing occasions when used by parents and staff. To evaluate the concurrent validity of the ABMS, a further assessment instrument was included for comparison purposes. This was the Gilliam Autism Rating Scale (GARS), an instrument commonly used with this population and previously (and currently) used by the early intervention centres where this project was conducted. Based upon the data for 24 ASD children, and collected over two years, the results show that the ABMS has high internal consistency and item validity (Cronbach Alpha greater than .80 for most scales across test occasions and raters). It also showed high inter-rater reliability for parents and staff (correlation from .71 to .99) and Test-Retest reliability (correlation from .71 to .99). Concurrent validity was also very sound in comparison with the GARS, particularly on the second testing occasion (significant inter-correlations for all scales). Concurrent validity was weaker on the first test occasion, possibly because the GARS was poorer at evaluating non-verbal children. Across all these evaluations of validity and reliability it was generally found that the ABMS was superior to the GARS. MANOVAs conducted on the data from the ABMS and GARS revealed that significant interactions occurred across testing occasions, when comparing parents and staff ratings on the scales. While all scales in the ABMS and GARS detected general improvement during the course of the intervention, it was shown that on average, the improvements reported by staff were greater than those reported by parents. Chapter 3 evaluates the clinical and applied implications of the results reported in Chapter 2 by means of an empirical investigation based on a series of case studies. The aim of this chapter was to illustrate how the ABMS improves upon, and gives additional data to, that available from the GARS and other assessment instruments. The focus is on what is helpful to staff and practitioners involved in the behavioural monitoring and planning of early intervention programs. The thesis concludes (Chapter 4) with a summary of the main implications and conclusions arising out of this project.
Keyword Behavioural Monitoring
Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Created: Thu, 24 Feb 2011, 11:51:08 EST by Ms Sarah Littmann-power