A Home- and Preschool-Based Positive Behavioural Support Program: Strategies Aimed at Improving Mealtime and Toileting Behaviours in 4-year-old Twins with Autism

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McCleave, Caitlin J.
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Mount Saint Vincent University
This study assesses the effectiveness of a multi-site (i.e., home-and preschool-based) positive behavioural support program for 4-year-old twins with autism. The program consisted of pre-intervention (2 weeks), intervention (9 weeks) and post-intervention (3 days) phases, in which the focus was on measuring mealtime and toileting skill development. Under the investigator’s guidance, the parents implemented interventions during meals that closely resembled mealtime routines at the preschool (where appropriate mealtime behaviour was observed and reported). In addition, the investigator, parents, and preschool staff worked collaboratively to implement interventions designed to encourage independent toileting skills. The target behaviours included leaving the table for more than 3 seconds during mealtimes and urinating in one’s diaper. During each of the pre-intervention, intervention and post-invention phases, behaviour and skill changes were monitored. Findings indicated clear increases from pre-intervention to post-intervention in the children’s tendency to sit in their seats for the duration of meals at home, as well as generalization to other settings. Also, for one child, independent toileting was established and maintained at post-intervention, and again generalization was demonstrated in other contexts. For the other child, toileting skills generally remained largely unchanged. Parent and preschool staff opinions of the positive behavioural support program and mealtime and toileting interventions were very positive. Discussion focuses on the potential of multi-site PBS programs for very young children with autism.
Autism , Preschool , Mealtime and Toileting Behaviours