Senior Honors Projects, 2020-current

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

5-9-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Department

Honors Interdisclipinary

Advisor(s)

Elizabeth Richardson

Tammy Gilligan

Abstract

This project explores the effects of a mindfulness intervention on children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in an occupational therapy setting, as well as explores the attitudes of student occupational therapists on the treatment acceptability for mindfulness interventions in occupational therapy. This paper discusses the current research in mindfulness and explores how it may have an impact on children with ASD, and in particular, within the field of occupational therapy. This project was made up of two components and took place at James Madison University’s Inter-Professional Autism Clinic (IPAC) over the course of three weeks. The first component was an investigation of the impact of a mindfulness intervention on two children with ASD enrolled in IPAC. This involved collecting data on the behaviors of two children during the mindfulness intervention implemented during their occupational therapy sessions. The second component of this project examined therapist acceptability and satisfaction of the mindfulness intervention implemented by two Level I OT graduate student therapists. This was achieved by collecting survey data on the student therapists before and after implementing the mindfulness intervention. The researcher predicted that frequency of behaviors such as outbursts and number of verbal prompts required to complete a task would decrease for the child participants over sessions. The researcher predicted that the student therapists would have a general acceptability of mindfulness as a therapeutic activity after administering the mindfulness intervention. The researchers concluded that the child participants each showed improvements in the trends of their challenging behaviors, and the student therapists accepted mindfulness interventions as a therapeutic activity in an OT setting. The results indicate that future research is necessary to provide more specific evidence for the effectiveness of mindfulness interventions for children with ASD and the treatment acceptability of mindfulness in the field of occupational therapy.

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