TRI Publications

Early Intervention for Autism with a Parent-Delivered Qigong Massage Program: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Author(s) Louisa M. T. Silva, Mark Schalock, & Kristen Gabrielsen
Date September 1, 2011
Published in American Journal of Occupational Therapy, Vol. 65
Citation Silva, L. M. T., Schalock, M., & Gabrielson, K. (2011). Early intervention for autism with a parent-delivered qigong massage program: A randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 65. Retrieved from


A recent randomized controlled trial (RCT) of a dual parent and trainer-delivered qigong massage intervention for young children with autism resulted in improvement of measures of autism as well as improvement of abnormal sensory responses and self-regulation. The RCT evaluated the effects of the parent-delivered component of the intervention. Forty-seven children were randomly assigned to treatment and wait-list control groups. Treatment group children received the parent-delivered program for 4 mo. Trained therapists provided parent training and support. Improvement was evaluated in two settings—preschool and home—by teachers (blind to group) and parents. Results showed that the parent-delivered program was effective in improving measures of autism (medium effect size) and sensory and self-regulatory responses (large effect size). Teacher data on measures of autism were confirmed by parent data. Results indicate that the parent-delivered component of the program provided effective early intervention for autism that was suitable for delivery at home.

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