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Improving Attention Skills of Children With Autism

This study has been completed.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Information provided by:
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Identifier:
First received: August 1, 2003
Last updated: June 28, 2007
Last verified: June 2003
Toddlers with autism have poor joint attention skills. Joint attention skills include pointing to objects, following another person’s gaze, and responding to invitations to join in a social interaction. Improved joint attention skills may lead to better verbal ability as the child ages. This study teaches caregivers how to help their toddlers with autism develop joint attention skills.

Condition Intervention Phase
Behavioral: Caregiver joint attention intervention
Phase 1
Phase 2

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: A Joint Attention Intervention With Caregivers and Their Children With Autism

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD):

Estimated Enrollment: 30
Study Start Date: September 2001
Estimated Study Completion Date: January 2006
Detailed Description:

Young children with autism show impairment in joint attention. The impairment affects their ability to sustain a shared interest in social interaction and to use specific joint attention skills, such as pointing and showing. The importance of joint attention is underscored by data suggesting these skills are important to later language skills. Targeting joint attention deficits in developmentally young children using familiar caregivers may result in better child language outcomes. This study will teach caregivers how to initiate and maintain episodes of joint engagement with their children.

Participants will be randomized to either the intervention group or to a wait list control group. Each caregiver and child in the intervention group will participate in 24 1-hour sessions, 3 times a week for 8 weeks. In these sessions, caregivers will be taught 10 different modules for teaching joint attention skills to their children. Outcome measures will include language and joint attention skills in the child and caregiver adherence to the intervention protocols. Children and caregivers will be assessed at baseline, during the course of the 8-week intervention, and 10 weeks after the end of the intervention. Participants assigned to the wait list group will begin the intervention at Week 12.


Ages Eligible for Study:   12 Months to 36 Months   (Child)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria

  • Diagnosis of autism based on Autism Diagnostic Interview–Revised (ADI-R) and Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) criteria

Exclusion Criteria

  • Seizures
  • Medical or psychiatric diagnoses other than autism that potentially contribute to developmental delay (e.g., genetic syndromes)
  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00065910

United States, California
University of California, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California, United States, 90095
Sponsors and Collaborators
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Principal Investigator: Connie Kasari, PhD University of California, Los Angelos
  More Information

Publications automatically indexed to this study by Identifier (NCT Number): Identifier: NCT00065910     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: R21MH064927 ( US NIH Grant/Contract Award Number )
Study First Received: August 1, 2003
Last Updated: June 28, 2007

Keywords provided by Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD):
Joint attention
Developmental delay
Caregiver interaction

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Autistic Disorder
Child Development Disorders, Pervasive
Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Mental Disorders processed this record on April 28, 2017