A new web-based intervention tool for challenging behaviors has been shown to be effective as far as its function-based intervention components are concerned, a team from CARD (Center for Autism and Related Disorders) reported in the journal Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders1.

Called the “BIP Builder”, it is one of the components of an online autism solution known as Skills® (BIP stands for Behavioral Intervention Plan).

CARD director of research and development, Jonathan Tarbox, PhD, BCBA-D, said:

“We were excited to be able to evaluate a web-based tool that we hoped would be a useful and practical resource for clinicians who are in the trenches, providing effective behavioral intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder on a daily basis. Overall, we found that the tool was easy to use, and it provided information that helped clinicians write better behavior intervention plans.”

Challenging behaviors are common in children with autism. The authors explained that such behaviors may have a negative impact on a range of childhood outcomes. Good quality behavior intervention plans are vital for reducing challenging behaviors. However, research on evaluating practical tools for designing intervention plans is scarce.

Dr. Tarbox and colleagues set out to determine how effective a web-base tool aimed at addressing challenging behaviors in children with autism might be in helping health care professionals select treatment procedures for inclusion in behavior intervention plans.

Their randomized, controlled study – Randomized Evaluation of a Web-Based Tool for Designing Function-Based Behavioral Intervention Plans – assessed the effects of the BIP Builder on the inclusion of three types of intervention components that are known to have the greatest likelihood of contributing to effective interventions plans:

  • function-based intervention components.
  • evidence-based intervention components.
  • non-punishment-based intervention components.

In an Abstract in Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, the authors wrote there was “a statistically significant increase in the inclusion of function-based intervention components but no statistically significant effect was observed on the other two measures.”

According to the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD)2, Skills® is an online tool that helps health care professionals and educators select and monitor treatment options for children with challenging behavior.

It gives teachers access to:

  • Assessment – an evaluation of the child’s skills.
  • Eight Curricula – step-by-step instructions on activities that help children with autism acquire the skills they need.
  • Positive Behavior Support Planning for Challenging Behavior – a tool for setting up and storing BIPs for challenging behavior.
  • Progress Tracking – keeps a record on how the child responds to treatment, and how a range of events impact on his or her progress.
  • Analytics – provides probable clinical outcomes, team evaluation and cost analyses.

The authors quote CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) statistics, which show that 1 in every 88 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder in the U.S. – a higher prevalence than childhood AIDS, juvenile diabetes and pediatric cancer combined.

Virtual conversation simulator helps adults with autism – in March, 2011, Medical News Today reported on a study showing that simulated interactions, in which adults with autism chat with a virtual partner, might help develop their interaction skills.