Acceptance and Commitment Training for reducing inflexible behaviors in children with autism

Volume 12, April 2019, Pages 178-188. (Special Issue on ACT for Autism and Related Disorders)


Thomas G. Szabo


Acceptance and Commitment Training has been employed to increase behavioral flexibility in only a handful of studies with children with autism. In the current study, we conducted a direct contingency functional analysis of the inflexible behavior of three children with autism and developed a function-based treatment. Upon finding that this intervention was either inefficient or ineffective, we conducted a secondary functional assessment of indirect (verbal) contingencies and employed a 4-h Acceptance and Commitment Training to decrease inflexible behaviors and increase manding for rule changes. All three children responded to the treatment, results maintained at follow up, and showed generality in the presence of siblings. Guidelines for the use of Acceptance and Commitment Training when treating behaviors slated for reduction are discussed.

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