• Mindfulness-based outdoor behavioral healthcare for individuals with autism spectrum disorder: possibilities, suggestions, and challenges

      Gluckman, Nicole (2021-05)
      The prevalence of autism spectrum disorder has been rapidly increasing. Traditional treatment interventions such as applied behavior analysis (ABA) have been very successful in targeting specific behaviors to shape and reinforce, thus eliminating problem behaviors such as self-injury and aggression. However, comprehensive treatment options are being developed with more of a focus on the strengths of the individual. These treatment options seek to use the natural environment in order to form positive relationships, increase self-esteem, and lead to a greater quality of life. In this paper, I synthesize research on outdoor-based interventions, and propose mindfulness as a fundamental building block for an outdoor-based therapy for individuals with autism to foster psychological and emotional growth in addition to established social and behavioral benefits. Future research should seek to make this approach as inclusive as possible so that it can be of benefit to individuals of various ages, dispositions, and tendencies (i.e. speaking or non-speaking).