A Clinical Case Study: Using Yoga to Improve Functional Communication in an Adolescent with Autism Spectrum Disorder

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CONFERENCE: Academic Festival

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Nevola, Emily
Autism spectrum disorder; Self-stimulatory behaviors; Yoga
article description
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disorder that impacts social interactions, verbal and nonverbal communication and includes repetitive/stereotypical behaviors.1 Approximately one in sixty-eight American children are diagnosed with ASD.1 Stereotypical behaviors associated with Autism are categorized as self-stimulatory behaviors (object taping, gazing at lights, scratching, neologisms, etc.). Therapy program goals for children with ASD include minimizing self-stimulatory behaviors and maximizing time spent on task. The participant of this case study was a 17 year old, non-hispanic black male that presented with ASD at Cooperative Educational Services, a school for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He exhibited various self-stimulatory behaviors, including body rocking, hand flapping, and repetitive non-purposeful vocalization and echolalia. Using the Yogi-Breaks Yoga Curriculum, the goal was to track and maximize the time spent on task during the yoga program. The sessions occurred one to two times a week for 30 minutes at a time, in a calm and quiet space, for a total of six sessions. The participant was able to increase the time spent on task and engage in yoga throughout the six sessions. In all six yoga sessions, time-on-task was recorded at 80% or higher. It was shown that yoga can be used as a positive therapeutic modality in decreasing the self-stimulatory behaviors associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder in this participant.