An Interoception-Based Intervention for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Pilot Study

Kerri Hample, Elizabethtown College
Kelly Mahler, Elizabethtown College
Adam Amspacher, Elizabethtown College


The ability to notice internal sensations such as tense muscles, a rumbling stomach, or heavy eyelids and translate these internal sensations into emotional meaning such as anger, hunger, and fatigue is an important skill called interoceptive awareness. Deficits in interoception have been discovered within many conditions including autism spectrum disorders (ASD), obesity, depression, trauma, and others. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of a condensed, 8-week intervention based on The Interoception Curriculum: A Guide to Developing Mindful Self-Regulation (IC) in children with ASD. Given the novelty of this intervention topic, an intentionally small pilot study was completed with eight autistic students, ages 6–13 years, enrolled in self-contained autism support classrooms. A significant increase in scores on an interoception measure were found as a result of the intervention. Interoception is hypothesized in the research as being foundational for emotional regulation and occupational performance. Therefore, these preliminary findings provide support for future, larger studies that examine the effectiveness of interoception-based interventions, such as the IC.