Interoception-Based Program Improves Emotional Regulation for Children with ASD

June 20, 2022

Research Is First to Examine Interoception Curriculum in a School Environment

A new report published in Occupational Therapy International has detailed the outcomes of a 25-week interoception curriculum embedded in a school environment. This innovative study aimed to determine the effectiveness of an interoception-based intervention on emotional regulation for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The interoception curriculum included 25 sequential lesson plans divided into three sections: body lessons, emotion lessons, and action lessons. Body lessons were designed to teach the students to notice body signals in various body parts using body mindfulness techniques adapted to meet their cognitive, attentional, and learning abilities. Emotion lessons were designed to help each student use body signals noticed as clues to their unique emotional experience. Action lessons were designed to help each participant explore and discover positive actions that promoted comfort within each identified body-emotion connection. Each lesson was implemented during every school day by school staff and consisted of 30-60 minutes per lesson. The study’s results indicated that the program was feasible in the school setting and successfully improved emotion regulation in students with ASD. The study’s authors believe that interoception confusion could be related to emotion regulation challenges in children on the spectrum. They believe that the interoception approach can teach students with autism how to notice and interpret their body signals, improving emotion regulation and positively impacting associated outward behaviors. 

Original Study

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