Effects of therapeutic recreation on adults with Asd and id: a preliminary randomized control trial

D. Garcia-Villamisar, J. Dattilo & C. Muela

Background The purpose of this research was to examine effects of a therapeutic recreation (TR) program designed to increase executive function (EF), social skills, adaptive behaviours and well-being of adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and intellectual disability (ID). Method A preliminary pre-test, post-test randomized control group experimental design was used to measure effects of a 40-week TR program designed to increase EF (TR-EF). The TR-EF used instructional electronically based games delivered during 200 1-h sessions (5/week). Results Participants (experimental group, n=19; wait-list group, n=18) were evaluated at baseline and 10months later. There was a positive and direct impact of the program on several EF and indirect effect on social skills, adaptive behaviour and personal well-being. Conclusions Findings provide support for inclusion of EF enrichment as a way to enhance effects of TR interventions for adults with ASD and ID. Preliminary results of this study can be considered in planning TR services in the future. In addition to TREF program primary effects on EF, there were indirect benefits on adaptive behaviours, personal well-being and social skills.