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Current Research Projects

Current Research Projects

Title:  Generating Behavioural and Neurophysiological Evidence for Mobile Technologies in Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Author:  Wendt O.; Yip, J.; Zentner, M.

Aim:  The proliferation of inexpensive mobile technology has made a strong impact on behavioural interventions in intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).  Using the example of mobile technology in augmentative and alternative communication, this presentation will discuss two approaches to generate research support.  A mobile application was designed for communication training and evaluated for treatment effects.

Method:  Evidence generation involved single-subject experimental designs to evaluate treatment efficacy through repeated measurement of behavior and replication across and within participants; and quantitative electroencephalograms to assess improvement in speech and language related symptoms pre- and post-intervention.

Results:  Single-subject data were collected for 16 participants with severe, non-verbal autism 6 to23 years old with replications of treatment and generalization effects.  Neurophysiological data were obtained for four participants showing resolving anomalies in speech and language symptoms.

Conclusions:  Comprehensive evidence-generation revealed a fine-grained picture of behavioural and neurophysiological effects to guide clinical practice.  critical app features that enhance skill acquisition include randomization of graphic stimuli, a lock function to prevent self-stimulating behaviours, or access modes for users with motor control difficulties.

Title: Autism – Paradigms, Recent Research and Clinical Applications

Author:  Michael Fitzgerald and Jane Yip

Content: This book opens with a discussion of neurodiversity and an elaboration of the diagnosis of autism. It then examines factors correlating with autism, including sex bias, month of birth, migration and impact of infant feeding. The next section is on the impact of autism. The neurobiology and genetic section deals with epigenetics and intracellular pathways associated with etiology. The development and behaviour section deals with proprioceptive profiles and joint attention in autism. The final section focuses on interventions including mindfulness, animal assisted activity, social/cultural perspective on autism intervention and physical activity. The book is relevant to all professionals and researchers working with persons with autism, including psychiatrists/psychologists, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, teachers, nurses and care workers.

Jane Yip

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