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Community Based Intervention for Children With ADHD and ASD

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT03003286
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : December 28, 2016
Last Update Posted : April 4, 2018
Georgetown University
University of Colorado, Denver
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Lauren Kenworthy, Children's National Research Institute

Brief Summary:
The purpose of this study is to determine whether a new treatment, Unstuck and On Target (UOT), works better, worse, or the same as the best treatment that is available now, Contingency Behavioral Management (CBM), for low income children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Autism Spectrum Disorder Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder Executive Function Behavioral: Unstuck and on Target (UOT) Behavioral: Parents and Teachers Supporting Students (PATSS) Not Applicable

Detailed Description:

This project will compare the effectiveness of an innovative community-based cognitive-behavioral Executive Functioning (EF) treatment, Unstuck and On Target (UOT) to the current standard of care, a Contingency Behavioral Management (CBM) program in typically underserved children with ASD or ADHD. Minimizing the impact of EF deficits in these pediatric disorders has broad public health implications, providing the opportunity for improvement in the real-world, long-term outcomes that stakeholders have told the investigators are most important to them: more educational and vocational success, more functional independence and improved Activities of Daily Living skills, and better physical health, with reduced morbidity and mortality. The health disparity that this project addresses is the poorer outcomes and limited treatment choices associated with being a child from a low-income family who also has ADHD or ASD. The research questions are:

  1. Which works better for low-income children with ASD, UOT or CBM? Researchers will test the comparative effectiveness of UOT to CBM treatments with low-income children with ASD.
  2. Which works better for low-income children with ADHD, UOT or CBM? Researchers will test the comparative effectiveness of UOT to CBM with low-income children with ADHD, a new patient population for UOT.
  3. Are the effects of UOT and CBM sustained 9-12 months after treatment? Researchers will assess whether any benefits ascribed to the interventions are maintained about a year after the treatment is completed.

Patients with ASD and ADHD will be recruited for the study from school systems. Half will receive UOT and half will receive CBM. Researchers will recruit interested Title 1 schools that serve very different and diverse populations. Recruitment will occur in several stages. Specifically, school districts will invite individual schools to participate in the trial that have a sufficient number of qualifying children. Interested schools will then contact families and provide information about the study. Interested families will initiate contact with study staff, and individual schools will be entered into the study if they have three or more patients whose families contact study staff. Children will then be scheduled for cognitive/diagnostic evaluation. Recruitment will continue until the target enrollment is reached, and all remaining interested families from enrolled schools are included. Subjects with appropriate assent and consent will be evaluated for eligibility and their school will be randomly assigned to treatment condition.

Cognitive problem-solving abilities, flexibility, planning and organizing, self-regulation, behavior problems, coping skills, and the child's use of non-routine urgent medical care will be measured before and after treatment through a multi-method, multi-informant format, including parent report, blinded classroom observations and blinded direct child measures. Researchers chose measures that have the greatest relevance to functional outcomes and "real world" functioning. Rather than define a single outcome, researchers chose multiple outcome variables, anticipating differential impacts of the treatment modalities on the outcome domains. All of the measures and observations will be gathered at pre- and post-treatment time-points in each treatment year.

Data will be analyzed using a Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) v20 and R. A comparison of baseline characteristics will be performed between the treatment groups to assess that the randomization was successful. The characteristics will include demographics as well as the direct child assessments and the behavioral scales. These comparisons will be performed using standard statistical methods, such as t-tests for continuous variables or (exact) chi-squares for dichotomous variables. If any characteristic is unbalanced between treatments, which will be possible with the sample size, secondary analyses will adjust for that characteristic.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 148 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Double (Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Community Based Intervention for Children With ADHD and ASD
Actual Study Start Date : September 13, 2014
Actual Primary Completion Date : August 5, 2017
Actual Study Completion Date : August 5, 2017

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: UOT Students and Parents
Unstuck and on Target (UOT) provided in the classroom for students at Title 1 schools
Behavioral: Unstuck and on Target (UOT)
Unstuck and on Target (UOT) is a novel and innovative cognitive-behavioral treatment that directly addresses executive functioning and self-regulation deficits in ASD and ADHD. UOT is the first contextually-based EF treatment that targets flexibility, goal-setting and planning through a cognitive-behavioral program centered on self-regulatory scripts that are consistently modeled and reinforced. Parents, teachers, and interventionists will be taught to model and support flexibility across settings. Children will also participate in a peer group intervention setting.

Experimental: PATSS Students and Parents
Parents and Teachers Supporting Students (PATSS) provided in the classroom for students at Title 1 schools
Behavioral: Parents and Teachers Supporting Students (PATSS)
The Contingency Behavior Management (CBM) intervention was developed by the researchers and called Parents and Teachers Supporting Students (PATSS) as a current best practice intervention that was comparable in design to Unstuck and on Target. The goal is to improve child behavioral outcomes by training parents, teachers and interventionists in core principles of behavior management like social learning and behavioral change. Children were also included in small group sessions where they identify their own behavior goals and meaningful reinforcers.

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Change in Classroom Observation total raw score at termination of intervention [ Time Frame: Baseline, 7-8 months ]
    15-20 minute classroom observation conducted by a treatment-blind research assistant for every study participant during the academic school day. The following behaviors are coded: Social reciprocity, Following Rules, Transitions, Gets Stuck, Negativity/Overwhelm, and Classroom Participation.

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Change in Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence--II Block Design- T-score at termination of intervention (post testing) and 1 year later (long-term follow-up) [ Time Frame: Baseline, 7-8 months, 19-20 months ]
    A standardized, normed timed visual construction task that requires efficient nonverbal cognitive problem solving.

  2. Change in Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System - Category Fluency and Switching Accuracy scaled scores at termination of intervention (post testing) and 1 year later (long-term follow-up) [ Time Frame: Baseline, 7-8 months,19-20 months ]
    Standardized, normed, executive function tasks

  3. Change in Executive Function Challenge Task - Flexibility and Planning raw scores at termination of intervention (post testing) and 1 year later (long-term follow-up) [ Time Frame: Baseline, 7-8 months, 19-20 months ]
    Observations of participant behavior when confronted with 3 standardized tasks demanding flexibility and planning are coded on a 3-point scale for each task, and summed across tasks.

  4. Change in Flexibility Interference Questions Questionnaire total raw score at termination of intervention (post testing) and 1 year later (long-term follow-up) [ Time Frame: Baseline, 7-8 months, 19-20 months ]
    A short questionnaire was created by researchers for parents to report how often problems with flexibility interfere with daily adaptive functioning.

  5. Change in Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF) - Parent Form - Shift, Plan/Organize, Emotional Control and Global Executive at termination of intervention (post testing) and 1 year later (long-term follow-up)Composite T-scores [ Time Frame: Baseline, 7-8 months, 19-20 months ]
    Parent ratings of participant's executive function-related behaviors

  6. Change in The Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) - Parent Report Externalizing Behaviors T-scores at termination of intervention (post testing) and 1 year later (long-term follow-up) [ Time Frame: Baseline, 7-8 months, 19-20 months ]
    The CBCL for 6-18 year olds has 118 items that describe specific behavioral and emotional problems, plus two open ended items to describe any additional problems, as well as 20 competence items covering positive, pro-social behaviors. Children's scores are expressed as T scores (mean=50; SD=10) on eight empirically based syndromes scales which are based on factor analyses: Anxious/Depressed, Withdrawn/Depressed, Somatic Complaints, Social Problems, Thought Problems, Attention Problems, Rule-Breaking Behavior, and Aggressive Behavior. The CBCL will be used to track behavioral change at home as a result of the treatments. Researchers predict that UOT and CBM participants will improve equally on the Aggressive Behavior scale, but that UOT participants will improve more on the CBCL Affective Problems score than CBM participants.

  7. Parent Feedback Form - Acceptability total raw score [ Time Frame: 7-8 months ]
    Parent ratings of acceptability of the intervention

  8. Child Feedback-Acceptability raw score [ Time Frame: 7-8 months ]
    Child ratings of acceptability of the intervention

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

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Ages Eligible for Study:   8 Years to 11 Years   (Child)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • The investigators will recruit children who are referred by teachers and staff at their school for concerns of flexibility (rather than those who are responding to an advertisement), so that the research will have a "real world" group of children to test the effectiveness of the treatments.
  • The recruited participants will have symptoms of ASD or ADHD, will be receiving a combination of mainstream and special education supports, and will qualify to attend pull-out groups in school. All the schools involved are eligible for Title 1 governmental support, indicating that the children are from primarily low-income communities, although the investigators will not be requiring that participant's families themselves meet income cutoffs.
  • Potential participants will be evaluated individually and included in the study if they achieve a Full Scale IQ score>70, a verbal mental age>6 years old, and meet DSM-IV-TR criteria for either a Autism Spectrum Disorder or ADHD. IQ and verbal mental age will be measured with the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence, 2nd addition (WASI-2) Verbal, Performance and Full Scale IQ scores (represented as Standard Scores: mean=100; SD=15).
  • To evaluate for ASD, research-valid clinical psychologists will administer the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Second Edition Module 3 (ADOS-2), a gold standard structured play/conversational interview that elicits symptoms of ASD. It produces non-standardized raw scores; higher scores indicate more symptoms. To be included in the study, each child must obtain an ADOS diagnostic algorithm >'ASD' threshold and parents will be asked to complete the Social and Communication Questionnaire (SCQ). In order to include the full autism spectrum, these criteria are relatively inclusive.
  • To confirm diagnosis of ADHD, parents will complete the ADHD portion of the MINI-Kid ADHD interview with a trained interviewer, and their child must meet DSM-IV criteria for any Attention Disorder. The researchers will include children who had observable symptoms in two of three settings. As all children will be referred for the study because teachers or staff at their school observed symptoms, the children will have to also meet criteria on the MINI-Kid interview or the trained clinician completing their testing will have to observe notable symptoms, or both, for the child to be included in the study.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Participants will be excluded from the study if they have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or major depression that is currently preventing them from participating in classroom activities.
  • Students with anxiety, mild depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder or other problems that do not prevent them from participating in the majority of classroom activities will not be excluded.
  • Exclusion will be determined through a two-stage process: First, participants will be screened for comorbid symptoms using the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). The CBCL for 6-18 year olds has 118 items that describe specific behavioral and emotional problems. Parents rate their child for how true each item is now or within the past 6 months. One of the PIs, both of whom are licensed psychologists with active clinical practices, will follow-up with a child's teacher if a child scores above a T score of 75 on any of the six DSM-oriented scales other than Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Problems (Affective Problems; Anxiety Problems; Somatic Problems; Oppositional Defiant Problems; and Conduct Problems).
  • The investigators will ask teachers targeted questions to determine to what degree the identified symptoms interfere with the child's ability to participate in the classroom activities or in the treatment group such as "Do you feel that the child can participate in most classroom activities? If not, why? Can they listen to and follow written and verbal instructions? Can they participate in activities with other children when given structure and support?" However, because the school programs involved in this study use an inclusion model, students in these mainstream classrooms are unlikely to meet exclusion criteria.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT03003286

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United States, District of Columbia
Children's Research Institude, Children's National Heath System
Washington, District of Columbia, United States, 20010
Sponsors and Collaborators
Lauren Kenworthy
Georgetown University
University of Colorado, Denver
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Principal Investigator: Lauren Kenworthy, Ph.D. Children's National Health Services
Principal Investigator: Laura Anthony, Ph.D. University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Center
American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 4th Edition, Text Revision. 2000.
Clopper CJ, Pearson, ES. The use of the confidence or fiducial limits illustrated in the case of the binomial. Biometrika 26(4): 404-413, 1934.
Delis DC, Kaplan E, Kramer JH. Delis Kaplan executive function system (D-KEFS). San Antonio, TX: The Psychological Corporation. 2001.
Mather N, Wendling BJ. Woodcock-Johnson IV tests of achievement: Examiner manual standard and extended batteries. Rolling Meadows, IL: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2014.

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Responsible Party: Lauren Kenworthy, ASSOC CHIEF NEUROPSYCHOLOGY, Children's National Research Institute Identifier: NCT03003286    
Other Study ID Numbers: AD-1304-7379
First Posted: December 28, 2016    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: April 4, 2018
Last Verified: April 2018
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD: No

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Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product: No
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product: No
Keywords provided by Lauren Kenworthy, Children's National Research Institute:
Contingency Behavior Management
Low Income
Problem Solving
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Pathologic Processes
Attention Deficit and Disruptive Behavior Disorders
Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Mental Disorders
Child Development Disorders, Pervasive