Examining the effect of Drums Alive® intervention on verbal communication and task engagement in children with autism spectrum disorder
Background: Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may experience challenges with verbal communication (VC) and task engagement (TE) in daily and academic activities. Antecedent-based interventions (ABI) have been explored as evidence-based practices (EBP) to improve VC and TE for children with ASD. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of Drums Alive® implemented as an ABI on VC and TE in children with ASD. Methods: Participants were five male children with ASD, aged 4-6 years, who completed an 8-week single-subject reversal design (A1-B1-A2-B2) study. In the A1-B1-A2-B2 research design, the baseline and intervention withdrawal phases (A1 and A2) consisted of six to eight 15-min observation sessions with the children with ASD engaged in a structured activity (e.g., Legos, Jenga, hopscotch, beanbag tossing, etc.). The intervention phases (B1 and B2) consisted of six to eight 15-min Drums Alive® sessions followed by the same 15-min observation sessions. The 10-s partial interval recording data for the four phases were analyzed through visual inspection. Results: For all five participants, TE percentages were higher in the two intervention phases than the baseline and intervention withdrawal phases, but no increases were observed for VC percentages in the two intervention phases. Conclusion: While limited, there appears to be support for Drums Alive® as an ABI to improve TE for children with ASD. However, further research with more participants is needed to confirm the impact of the Drums Alive® program.