A Pilot Study Comparing the Efficacy, Fidelity, Acceptability, and Feasibility of Telehealth and Face-to-Face Creative Movement Interventions in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder




Creative movement therapy has become a ray of hope for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This form of therapy utilizes dance and movement exercises to improve motor skills, social interaction, and emotional regulation in children with ASD. A recent pilot study published in Telemedicine Reports (April 2024) explored a fascinating question: can creative movement therapy be just as effective when delivered virtually through telehealth [1]?


This blog delves deeper into the study, exploring its findings on the efficacy, fidelity, acceptability, and feasibility of telehealth-based creative movement therapy for children with ASD.


Efficacy: Evaluating the Impact


The study involved 15 children with ASD who participated in a creative movement intervention program. Half of the group received the program via telehealth, while the other half participated in traditional face-to-face sessions. The researchers assessed the children’s progress in various areas:

  • Motor Skills: Both groups showed improvements in motor skills, indicating that telehealth can be just as effective as face-to-face interaction in facilitating motor development through creative movement exercises.
  • Emotional Engagement: The study observed a positive trend in emotional engagement for both groups. Children displayed increased joy, interest, and participation during the sessions, regardless of the delivery method.
  • Social Communication: This is a crucial area for children with ASD. The researchers documented improvements in both verbal and non-verbal socially directed communication in both telehealth and face-to-face groups. This suggests that telehealth can create a surprisingly effective platform for fostering social interaction skills.
  • Interpersonal Coordination and Dual/Multi-Limb Coordination: The study also looked at how well children interacted with the therapist and coordinated their movements. Both groups displayed improvements in these areas, indicating that telehealth can effectively guide children in developing these crucial skills.


These findings are significant. They suggest that telehealth can be a viable and effective way to deliver creative movement therapy to children with ASD. This opens doors to wider accessibility, particularly for children in remote locations or those facing challenges attending in-person sessions.


Fidelity: Maintaining the Blueprint


Fidelity refers to how well the intervention is delivered as originally designed. The researchers ensured fidelity by monitoring sessions and verifying that therapists adhered to the program structure in both telehealth and face-to-face settings. This is important to ensure that children in both groups received the same quality and type of intervention.


Acceptability: Parents and Therapists Weigh In


A successful intervention goes beyond just the children. The study also explored how parents and therapists felt about telehealth-based creative movement therapy. The results were positive:

  • Parents: Parents in both groups found the interventions acceptable and feasible. This is encouraging, as parental buy-in is crucial for a child’s progress in therapy.
  • Therapists: While the study doesn’t go into detail about therapists’ perspectives, the fact that fidelity was maintained suggests that therapists were comfortable delivering the program through telehealth.


However, the study also points out that parents in the telehealth group might have shouldered a slightly higher burden. Telehealth sessions might require a bit more effort from parents in terms of supervising and redirecting their children’s attention during the exercises.


Feasibility: Telehealth – A Practical Solution?


The final piece of the puzzle is feasibility – can telehealth realistically become a mainstream option for creative movement therapy? The study suggests that it can. Telehealth eliminates geographical barriers and offers flexibility for both therapists and families. However, the researchers acknowledge that it might not be suitable for all children. Children who require a high level of support due to behavioral challenges might benefit more from the in-person setting and therapist interaction.


Moving Forward: A Promising Future


This pilot study, while small-scale, offers valuable insights. The findings pave the way for larger studies to solidify the effectiveness of telehealth-based creative movement therapy for children with ASD. If further research confirms its efficacy, telehealth could become a game-changer, increasing access to this form of therapy for a wider population of children in need.




Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top