A multimodal intervention for children and adults with autism spectrum disorders: ‘ReAttach’

Paula Weerkamp-Bartholomeus, Ph.D.1, Prof. Dr. Vladimir Trajkovski2

1ReAttach Therapy Institute, Eindhoven, The Netherlands, e-mail: info@reattach-therapy-institute.com

2Institute of Special Education and Rehabilitation, Faculty of Philosophy, University “Ss. Cyril and Methodius” Blvd. Goce Delchev 9A, 1000 Skopje, Republic of Macedonia, e-mail vladotra@fzf.ukim.edu.mk

 Abstract

Introduction: Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterized by impairments in social interaction and communication and restricted and repetitive interests/behaviors, which has considerable impact on daily life functioning. ReAttach is an intervention based on attachment, arousal regulation and training multiple sensory integration processing.

Aim: investigate the effectivity of ReAttach in terms of improvement of daily life functioning.

Method: Eight therapists were trained to perform ReAttach with a group of participants (N=58). Comparison of the mean scores on the Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC) was conducted with a paired sample t-test.

Results: In this study we have explored the potential of 5 sessions of ReAttach to significantly improve the ATEC scores of participants diagnosed with ASD within a short period of time. The results revealed significant decreases of problems (p<0.001) in the subscales: I. Speech (t=9.96, df=57, p=0.000), II. Sociability (t=13.72, df=57, p=0.000), III. Sensory Cognitive Awareness (t=11.91, df=57, p=0.000), IV. Health / Physical / Behavior (t=11.64, df=57, p=0.000) and total scores of the ATEC (t=15.23, df=57, p=0.000).

We made comparison of mean total scores in various diagnosis within the whole ASD group: Autistic disorder (N=6, age M=18.67, SD±6.92, males were 100%) t=4.78, df=5, p=0.005; Asperger syndrome (N=24, age M=27.75, SD±12.88 males were 70.83%)  t=10.56, df=23, p=0.000; PDD-NOS (N=24, age  M=22.17, SD±11.68, males were 83.33%), t=9.26, df=23, p=0.000; ASD and Intellectual Disability (N=4, age M=26.75, SD±16.17, males were 75%) t=4.40, df=3, p=0.022.

Conclusions: This study confirms that ReAttach has a positive impact on daily life functioning. Practical research confirms the hypothesis that this intervention has a positive effect on various developmental areas described in the ATEC. The results further suggest that people within the entire range of ASD can benefit from ReAttach and the method itself might provide important clues to efficient ASD treatment.

Keywords: autism, innovation, treatment

Citation: Weerkamp Bartholomeus P, Trajkovski V. Multimodalna intervencija za decu i odrasle sa autističnim spektrom poremećaja: „Reattach“. Zbornik rezimea ‡ IV stručno-naučni skup sa međunarodnim učešćem „Aktuelnosti u edukaciji i rehabilitaciji osoba sa smetnjama u razvoju“. Beograd, 24-25 oktobar, 2015; 19.

WHAT CAN REATTACH DO FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH AUTISM?

Let’s take a few minutes to explain the impact of the multimodal approach of ReAttach:

  • ReAttach trains Multiple Sensory Integration Processing
  • ReAttach trains coherent concepts
  • ReAttach trains complex social cognitive skills and we start at a very low entry level
  • Our therapists use cognitive bias modification to practise new neuropsychological patterns and new thinking strategies that might be very useful in situations that are quite complicated

 

This results in:

  • The ability to learn from new experiences (problems with transfer disappear)
  • The ability to understand social concepts and read the non-verbal cues and social rules and behaviours that are not explicitly explained
  • Self-awareness and behaviour control
  • Improvement of executive functioning
  • Sensory overload decreases or disappears because sensory information can be processed quicker and better in a coherent way (by multiple sensory integration processing)
  • The development of new skills such as: imagination, expressing emotions, showing empathy, theory of mind, mentalization, reading your own body signals

 

With pre-verbal children or adults with autism ReAttach can achieve this:

  • Multiple Sensory Integration Processing
  • Coherent concepts of the self and others
  • Differentiation between the self and others
  • Echolalia changes into communication addressing to the self and the other
  • Exploration and play.

In the Netherlands we already provide the ReAttach for Autism intervention in institutions for Mental Health, private practises and institutions for people with cognitive disabilities. In WTA March 2015 a case study was published in Dutch.

The method has been presented at the World Autism Organisation Conference in 2014 and 2016 and at the Autism Challenges and Solutions Conference in Moscow, April 2016.

The practical research has been published in Clinical Neuropsychiatry, a peer-reviewed journal for treatment evaluation. It has been rewarded with a nomination of the Clinical Neuropsychiatry Award.http://clinicalneuropsychiatry.org

Prof Dr Vladimir Trajkovski has presented this autism research paper in Belgrade last year and represents us in the Balkan region.

In Prof Dr Michael Fitzgerald’s book Autism Recent Advances there is a chapter on ReAttach about a case study with a patient with Asperger syndrome. http://www.intechopen.com/books/autism-spectrum-disorder-recent-advances/reattach-the-exciting-development-of-a-promising-intervention-for-autism-spectrum-disorders

Availability

International training courses are scheduled to deliver the ReAttach for Autism in the upcoming year to: Belgium (Gent, Leuven, Antwerpen), Singapore, United Kingdom (London), Germany (Keulen, Mannheim, Muenster), Italy (Rome), Vancouver BC, Australia (Sydney, Melbourne,) and New York.

For more information you may contact ReAttach Therapy Institute
info@reattach-therapy-institute.com

Source: AutsimEye