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Promoting Occupational Engagement and Personal Satisfaction in People with Neurodevelopmental Disorders via a Smartphone-Based Intervention

  • Giulio E. LancioniEmail author
  • Mark F. O’Reilly
  • Jeff Sigafoos
  • Gloria Alberti
  • Francesca Campodonico
  • Valeria Chiariello
ORIGINAL PAPER

Abstract

Objectives

This study assessed a smartphone-based program to foster basic occupational engagement and personal satisfaction, and eventually increase physical exertion (heart rates), in people with extensive neurodevelopmental disorders.

Methods

The program relied on a Samsung Galaxy A3 smartphone with Android 6.0 operating system, near-field communication function, and MacroDroid application. Seven participants were involved. The participants’ occupational responses consisted of putting special (hard and thick) cards into an elevated box (into contact with the smartphone) by stretching their arm. The responses activated the smartphone, which delivered brief periods of preferred stimulation. Failure to produce responses led the smartphone to deliver a verbal prompt/encouragement to respond.

Results

All participants had significant increases (p < 0.01) in occupational responses and heart rates, and six of them also showed a significant increase in the level of personal satisfaction, during program sessions as opposed to baseline or control sessions. The Kolmogorov–Smirnov test and paired t test were used to assess the changes across sessions.

Conclusions

A simple smartphone-based program might be suitable to support occupational engagement, increase heart rates, and foster personal satisfaction in people with extensive neurodevelopmental disorders.

Keywords

Smartphone-based program Neurodevelopmental disorders Occupational engagement Heart rates Personal satisfaction 

Notes

Authors’ Contributions

GL was responsible for setting up the study, acquiring and analyzing the data, and writing the manuscript. MO, JS, GA, FC, and VC collaborated in setting up the study and/or analyzing the data and writing/editing the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest. The authors alone are responsible for the content and writing of the article.

Ethical Approval

Approval for the study was obtained from the Ethics Committee of the Lega F. D’Oro, Osimo, Italy. All procedures performed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Written informed consent for the participants’ involvement in the study was obtained from their legal representatives.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giulio E. Lancioni
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mark F. O’Reilly
    • 2
  • Jeff Sigafoos
    • 3
  • Gloria Alberti
    • 4
  • Francesca Campodonico
    • 4
  • Valeria Chiariello
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Neuroscience and Sense OrgansUniversity of BariBariItaly
  2. 2.University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  3. 3.Victoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand
  4. 4.Lega F. Doro Research CenterOsimoItaly

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