Autism is a complex disorder that despite years of research is not well understood.
Most interventions have been developed to address perceived developmental, sensory, and behavioral deficits, and are rarely based on the bio-neurological underpinnings of autism or other co-occcuring conditions.
Staci Neustadt* and Susan Golubock*, Making Sense of Autism,
Ashley Kim and B. Blair Braden, Arizona State University, College of Health Solutions, Phoenix, AZ
*Shared first author
Further, those on the autism spectrum are rarely included in designing or evaluating approaches to autism interventions; thus, those who would most benefit are excluded from guiding its direction. A better understanding of the neurological differences in autism might result in more effective coordination between disparate behavioral, developmental, educational, therapeutic, medical, and family-based approaches. Neuro-Strength-Based Support for Autism (NSBSA) attempts to translate neuroscience research into terms that autistics and their support network can understand. Rather than a new approach to intervention, the NSBSA is a unifying framework to understanding autism that all therapists, educators, clinicians, and parents can use to help improve the functional abilities and desires of the autistic individuals they support. It was developed by an Autistic Occupational Therapist based on her professional and lived experience.
Feasibility and acceptability of the NSBSA training program among service providers working with autistic clients.
Pre- and post-training changes in service providers’ satisfaction with their intervention goals for autistic clients.
Pre- and post-training changes in service providers’ goal writing in terms of a focus on remediating deficits to achieve normal milestones to writing goals that use autistic individual's strengths and provide the necessary supports to improve the functional abilities desired by the autistic individual.
Demographics & Feasibility
Number of Modules
Number of Q&A
Pre-Training Evaluations: Each participant (i.e. autism practitioner; Table 1) completed a Pre-Training Goal Satisfaction survey and a Pre-Training Goal Writing assessment.
Training: Participants received eight asynchronous training modules (Table 2) then met one time per week virtually with the researchers for questions and discussion.
Post-Training Evaluations: Each participant completed a Post-Training Goal Satisfaction survey, Post-Training Goal Writing assessment, and Course Satisfaction Survey.
Analyses: Paired t-tests were used to evaluate change in Goal Satisfaction (Fig. 1) and Goal Writing (Fig. 2) before and after training, with alpha set at 0.05. Course Satisfaction questions means were qualitatively interpreted based on the wording of the Likert-scale options for each question (Table 3).
Introduction to NSBS for Autism
Interpreting and Supporting Autistic Behaviors
Sources of Autistic Motivation
Autism Neuroscience Research on Attention to Input
Autism Neuroscience Research on Processing and Recall of Input
Autism Neuroscience Research on Body and Emotional Self-Awareness
Developing Goals that Target Desired Function
Developing a Program Plan for Implementing NSBS Goals
NSBSA Training for Other Therapists
Length of NSBSA Training was Just Right
Training Helped Make Changes to Current Strategies with Client