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PP-111 {Surf2Heal}: outdoor activity’s impact on the social behaviours of ASD
  1. Sorcha Ní Bhrúdair,
  2. Anda Dumitrescu
  1. University College Cork, Ireland


Aim Autism Spectrum Disorder is a highly prevalent, complex, neurobehavioural condition. Those with autism have impaired social interactions, reduced communication skills, difficulties in language development, and rigid, repetitive behavior. The volume and variety of resources available to those with ASD in Ireland is lacking, particularly given the considerable population with ASD. Surf2Heal is a voluntary camp providing those with ASD the opportunity to participate in ocean-based activities. This study was carried out with the aim of comparing the social behaviours of those with ASD before and after a surf camp tailored specifically towards those with ASD.

Material and Method The parents of participants in the camps across the country filled out two copies of the Social Responsiveness Scale-2 questionnaire [SRS-2]. The first was based on participants behaviour prior to the camp, and the second based on participants behaviour immediately following the camp. Results were compared using paired t-tests to ascertain if there was an impact on social behaviours, examining overall impact and five treatment variables. The variables examined were Awareness, Cognition, Communication, Motivation, and, Restricted Interests and Repetitive Behaviours.

Results Statistical analysis was done at the significance level of p < 0.05 of scores obtained before and after the surf camp. Of the 27 participants, 96.4% demonstrated an overall improvement. Results showed a statistically significant improvement in the Total score and in all variables measured. Within each variable between 55.6%-92.6% of participants demonstrated improvements following analysis of the results. Analysis also demonstrated that all variables had a moderate to very large effect size.

Conclusions The study indicated that the surf and outdoor intervention had a positive effect on the social behavior of those with ASD in all examined variables. These results highlight how valuable further development of resources such as Surf2Heal are in management of ASD, advocating for further research and investment in this area.

  • Autism
  • Outdoor Therapy
  • Social Behaviours
  • Blue Space
  • ASD

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