Adventure Camp: Evaluation of an Experiential Learning Social Skills Intervention for Children with ADHD and ASD

Date of Award

Summer 8-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



First Advisor

Laura A. Knight

Second Advisor

Lisa C. Newell

Third Advisor

David M. Myers


The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of Intercare’s Adventure Camp for developing social skills in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and/or autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A volunteer sample of children diagnosed with ADHD or ASD who attended camp during the summer of 2015 and their caregivers participated. Live observations by two independent observers blind to the research hypotheses were used to measure the frequency of prosocial and negative behavior over the course of participation in camp activities. A single-subject design was used to measure changes in behavior during select activities over the course of camp participation. Parental reports were collected at pre- and post-camp participation for all children and self-report measures were used with children over age 13 years to examine changes in social skills and generalization outside of the camp environment. Results from behavioral observations showed no discernable change in frequency of prosocial or negative behaviors over the course of camp participation. Improvements were noted for two first-year camp participants in parent ratings of prosocial behaviors. Additionally, several other camp participants showed improvements in at least one area of behavior according to parent ratings; two adolescents who completed self-reports yielded scores that were inconsistent with both parent ratings and behavior observations and were deemed invalid.

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