Outcomes of a pilot training program in a qigong massage intervention for young children with autism

Am J Occup Ther. 2008 Sep-Oct;62(5):538-46. doi: 10.5014/ajot.62.5.538.


Sensory impairment is a common and significant feature of children on the autism spectrum. In 2005, a qigong massage intervention based on Chinese medicine and delivered by a doctor of Chinese medicine was shown to improve sensory impairment and adaptive behavior in a small controlled study of young children with autism. In 2006, the Qigong Sensory Training (QST) program was developed to train early intervention professionals to provide the QST intervention. This article describes the preliminary evaluation of the QST program as piloted with 15 professionals and 26 children and outcomes testing using standardized tests of sensory impairment and adaptive behavior. Results of outcomes comparing delivery by QST-trained therapists with delivery by a doctor of Chinese medicine showed that both groups improved and that there was no difference in outcome between the two groups. The intervention and training program are described, and implications for future research are discussed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Autistic Disorder / rehabilitation*
  • Breathing Exercises*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Education, Continuing*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massage*
  • Occupational Therapy / education*
  • Occupational Therapy / methods
  • Parents
  • Pilot Projects
  • Treatment Outcome