A pilot clinical trial has been conducted to test the clinical effectiveness of MyFriendQuest. The results of this pilot clinical study were presented as a paper to the conference of the Royal Australasian College of Psychiatrists – and reported on the NZ Doctor Website.
To test whether this intervention resulted in a measurable change in the level of social skills of the participants in the home or school environments;
To test whether this intervention resulted in a measurable change in the level of anxiety of the participants in the home and / or school environments.
This pilot clinical trial was conducted with children aged six to 13 years;
A prerequisite to participation was that children had an existing diagnosis of either high functioning autism or Asperger’s syndrome;
The parents of the participating children were required to commit to following the process detailed below.
- Pre intervention testing was performed on the participating children. The four tests performed are detailed below.
- The MyFriendQuest application was used for 45 minutes 3 times a week over a consecutive six week period;
- Although each participant used the MyFriendQuest application for only consecutive six weeks, this study was spread over a six month period as this was necessary in order to provide enough flexibility to fit into the schedules of as many participating families as possible;
- Any families who did not correctly complete the required use of the application for any reason were excluded from all results;
- After each participant’s six week use of the MyFriendQuest application, post testing was performed using the four tests
- The differences in results pre and post the six week intervention using MyFriendQuest were analysed;
- A Bonferonni correction was applied to all results to allow for any outcomes that may have occurred by chance rather than as a direct result of the intervention.
- The Social Responsiveness Scale (Constantino 2005) for both the parent and the teacher. This is a 65 item questionnaire and covers the dimensions of interpersonal behavior, communication, and repetitive behavior. The subtests have a range of criteria including recognition of emotions and social skills. This testing was performed in the context of both home and school.
- The Eye Test. This test was developed by Prof Simon Baron-Cohen. The child is presented with a set of eyes only and asked to choose one of four options presented to them which expresses a particular emotion.
- The Face Test. This test was also developed by Prof Simon Baron-Cohen. In the Face Test, the child is presented with the face and two emotion options. The participant is also presented with the same face – but with eyes only and then mouth only. The child again has to identify which emotion is correct – for example, is this an angry mouth or a disgusted mouth?
- The Revised Children’s Manifest Anxiety Scale (Reynolds and Richmond 2008). This test was used to test for any changes in the child’s anxiety levels
Results in Summary
The Social Responsiveness Scale. Results “highly significant” for both the parent and teacher. This showed that for the participating children, significant improvement in socialization skills had been achieved both in the home and school environment;
The Eye Test. Results for recognition in the eyes test “highly significant”. This showed that the participating children had made significant improvement in recognizing emotions in people’s eyes;
The Face Test. The results for recognition of emotions was “significant”;
The Revised Manifest Anxiety Scale. Results “significant” showing a reduction in anxiety amongst the participating children attributable to using the MyFriendQuest application over the six week period.
These results indicate that MyFriendQuest application can make a difference to children with Asperger’s syndrome or high functioning autism – and that this difference can also impact positively on the parents, caregivers and teachers in the lives of these children.