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An evaluation of the effectiveness of the Local Early Autism Programme (LEAP)

Limbert, Elizabeth Mary; (2017) An evaluation of the effectiveness of the Local Early Autism Programme (LEAP). Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This research evaluated the Local Early Autism Programme (LEAP), a pilot intervention for twelve preschool children with autism aged between 3 years 6 months and 4 years 3 months in a South East local authority. LEAP specialists used different strategies with children, families and preschools to support the development of social communication, emotional regulation and transactional support (Prizant, Wetherby, Rubin & Laurent, 2003). Progress was monitored over the six months intervention at the beginning (T1), middle (T2) and end (T3) through observations at home and in preschool. Social communication, emotional regulation and transactional support scores improved significantly between T1 and T2 and between T2 and T3. Emotional regulation scores were also related to social communication scores at T2 and T3. An increase in transactional support from T1 to T3 was positively related to the number of LEAP sessions attended. Semi-structured interviews with parents and LEAP specialists were conducted at all time points and with preschool practitioners at T1 and T3. Parents, preschool practitioners and LEAP specialists commented on changes in children’s speech, communication, composure, engagement and cooperation. Parents and preschool practitioners reported changes in play and interaction. Parents and LEAP specialists referred to changes in ability to share. Only parents reported changes in taking turns, and becoming independent was only mentioned in one preschool. Key features of LEAP linked to changes in children reported by parents were regular sessions at home and preschool, strategies being tailored to individuals’ needs, and the relationship between LEAP specialists and the children. Preschool staff, like parents, felt that regular sessions at home and preschool and the individualised nature of the intervention were important aspects. Preschool staff also believed the LEAP specialist’s approach and knowledge along with everyone collaborating were key. Improvements to LEAP and the role of parents and preschool practitioner were also discussed.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: An evaluation of the effectiveness of the Local Early Autism Programme (LEAP)
Event: UCL (University College London) Institute of Education
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Early Intervention, Parental Views, Preschool Practitioner Views, Mixed Methods Research
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Psychology and Human Development
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1573307
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