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Stimulating Social Communication in Adolescents and Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Neurological Approach

The goal of this project was to demonstrate the efficiency and efficacy of the Listening Project, a biologically-based behavioral intervention derived from the Polyvagal Theory, on adolescent and adult individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  The Polyvagal Theory provides a neurobiological explanation for specific neural mechanisms associated with the spontaneous social behavior expressed by humans.  This project was based on the premise that social behavior is a naturally occurring emergent property of the human nervous system.  According to this model, positive social behavior is dependent on the nervous system being in a specific state. Intervention strategies that foster this state will have a positive impact on the social interaction skills of people with autism.   The research program focused on the development, evaluation, and application of this class of interventions in a cohort of adults with autism.