Authors: Whalen C, Moss D, Ilan AB, Vaupel M, Fielding P, MacDonald K, Cernich S, Symon J
Title: Efficacy of TeachTown: Basics Computer-Assisted Intervention for the Intensive Comprehensive Autism Program in Los Angeles Unified School District
Source: Autism 2010 14(3): 179-197
Year: 2010
Research Design: Randomised Controlled Trial
Rating Score: 03/10
This rating is confirmed
Eligibility specified - Y
Random allocation - Y
Concealed allocation - N
Baseline comparability - N
Blind subjects - N
Blind therapists - N
Blind assessors - N
Adequate follow-up - Y
Intention-to-treat analysis - N
Between-group comparisons - Y
Point estimates and variability - N

Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) has shown increased popularity recently and there are many studies showing promise for this approach for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). However, there are no between-subject studies to date assessing the efficacy of CAI with this population. In this study, 47 preschool and K-1 students in ASD classrooms participated from Los Angeles Unified School District. "TeachTown: Basics", a CAI program which also includes supplementary off-computer activities, was implemented over 3 months for approximately 20 minutes per day on the computer and 20 minutes per day in supplementary "TeachTown: Basics" activities. Compared to the students in the control group, the "TeachTown: Basics" students showed more improvement overall on language and cognitive outcome measures. In addition, students who used "TeachTown: Basics" demonstrated significant progress overall in the software and those students who used the program for more time demonstrated larger gains within the software and in outcome measures. Although not conclusive, these findings offer possibilities for the use of CAI for remediating many deficits for children with ASD and other special needs. In addition, CAI may offer solutions to schools and parents with insufficient funds for more expensive treatments. The final, definitive version of this paper has been published by SAGE Publications Ltd, All rights reserved ©

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