One of the most difficult aspects of a research project is choosing a topic. This must be done appropriately because it is the initial stage in drafting a paper. The themes for the assignment’s topic, “Children with Autism,” were chosen within its constraints. Instructors frequently provide broad instructions to allow students to consider possible major topics for essays. Failure to follow these instructions might lead to the submitted paper being rejected. A preliminary inquiry on the topic established many significant main topics for discussion. According to the preliminary investigation, the primary subjects covered, among others, dealing with behavioral issues, helping students in a classroom, training social and coping techniques, raising awareness of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), therapeutic programs, and inspiring people with ASD. The major issue, therapeutic programs for children with autism, was selected from the study topics listed above. Finding sources, literary materials, and data on the primary issue was the next step after settling on the main topic. A CARS Checklist for Information Quality was used to assess the sources of information obtained. As such, the subtopic’s sources were covered using the checklist to deliver plausible, accurate, and dependable information. Below are the notes on the main topics and subtopics derived from the planning steps and brainstorming on the topic:
- Main Topic: Therapeutic Programs for Children with ASD in K-12 Institutions.
- Subtopics include:
- Efficacy of a multi-system aquatic therapy for Children with ASD.
- A standardized equine-assisted therapy (EAT) program improves motor skills in children with ASD.
- The EAT program improves the emotional intelligence of children with ASD.
Therapeutic Programs for Children with Autism in K-12 Institutions
Researchers who study autism are still debating how to best create healthy interpersonal relationships for autistic individuals. Children and adolescents have benefited from therapeutic conferences that provide ongoing operations to support their ability to be involved in active social connections. Additionally, little is known about the strategies K-12 institutions are adopting to offer more opportunities for advancement (Layden et al., 2021). There is a gap in knowledge about the application of such programs in institutions to improve the social and intellectual well-being of children with autism. In general, a diagnosis of autism is challenging due to the lack of a screening test and the paucity of treatment options. Various treatment programs are required, including but not limited to, multi-system aquatic therapy and structured equine-assisted therapy programs, to support interpersonal relationships in children with ASD.
Aquatic therapeutic methods with multiple systems provide children with autism with better rehabilitative approaches. Aquatic treatment, according to Caputo et al. (2018), enhances motor abilities in individuals with autism disorder, albeit its usefulness in addressing real-world issues has yet to be established. The source’s findings are corroborated by more recent research by Güeita-Rodríguez et al. (2022), which demonstrated a sense of “normalcy” and the consequences of AT in connection to post-intensive nursing disorder for children with ASD. Caputo et al. (2018) used a multisystem aquatic therapy program with three phases that were executed throughout a ten-month program for the investigation. The study’s findings revealed appreciable gains in terms of emotional reaction, change adaptability, appropriate coping controls, and exercise levels. The author’s demonstration of the effectiveness of aquatic therapeutic programs on a variety of cognitive and occupational problems for children with ASD makes the material pertinent to the primary focus of this research.
Children with ASD benefit from a structured EAT program that enhances their executive functioning. According to Contalbrigo et al. (2021), aerobic exercise with emotional or cognitive impulses improved executive functioning in children with ASD. The study employed a total of 38 children, aged 6–12 as participants. As a control, apart from using 19 children with an ASD diagnosis, the study included other 19 typically developing (TD) children. The individuals who worked on the farm had horses (19), and horse riding was a part of the therapeutic activities. The study’s findings suggested a minor influence on motor skills or growth in their social interaction in groups participating in the EAT program.
Notably, when the EAT program’s research exercise was terminated, executive functioning in children with ASD improved significantly. Similarly, the same conclusion was derived from research conducted by Gilboa and Helmer (2020). The strength of the article by Contalbrigo et al. (2021) is established in it being a primary source that addressed the implications of the EAT program on individuals with ASD. Consequently, the appraisal of the program’s impacts on children’s executive abilities through the use of problem-solving functions aptly predicts its findings. However, the sampling size of thirty-eight participants was a limitation of the study. Despite the shortcomings, the source is relevant to this research topic for being a peer-reviewed article.
In conclusion, and as a result of outlining different therapy programs for autistic children, the sources described above are important for the current research’s central subject. For instance, conventional horse-aided treatment and multisystem aquatic therapy are examples of the restorative approaches described in the chosen sources, which are important for this analysis. Accordingly, the materials used in the article provided in-depth information about autistic children and their therapeutic interventions.
Caputo, G., Ippolito, G., Mazzotta, M., Sentenza, L., Muzio, M. R., Salzano, S., & Conson, M. (2018). Effectiveness of a multisystem aquatic therapy for children with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 48(6), 1945-1956.
Contalbrigo, L., Borgi, M., De Santis, M., Collacchi, B., Tuozzi, A., Toson, M., Redaelli, V., Odore, R., Vercelli, C., Stefani, A., Luzi, F., Valle, E., & Cirulli, F. (2021). Equine-assisted interventions (EAIs) for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD): Behavioural and physiological indices of stress in domestic horses (Equus caballus) during riding sessions. Animals, 11(6), 1-14.
Gilboa, Y., & Helmer, A. (2020). Self-management intervention for attention and executive functions using equine-assisted occupational therapy among children aged 6–14 diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 26(3), 239-246.
Güeita-Rodríguez, J., Gil-Montoro, N., Cabo-Ríos, B., Alonso-Fraile, M., Pérez-Corrales, J., & Palacios-Ceña, D. (2022). Impressions of aquatic therapy treatment in children with prolonged mechanical ventilation–clinician and family perspectives: A qualitative case study. Disability and Rehabilitation, 44(8), 1284-1293.
Layden, S. J., Anderson, A., & Hayden, K. E. (2021). Are librarians prepared to serve students with autism spectrum disorder? A content analysis of graduate programs. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 36(3), 156-164.