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Improving Working Memory of Children With Autism

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.
 
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04209452
Recruitment Status : Terminated (COVID-19)
First Posted : December 24, 2019
Last Update Posted : November 12, 2020
Sponsor:
Collaborators:
Shanghai Xuhui Clover Children Healthy Garden
Jingdezhen Kindkids Autism Rehabilitation and Training Center
Sunshine Special Education Center
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Arizona State University

Brief Summary:

Existing findings suggest that challenges in working memory (WM) of children with autism are common (Habib, Pollick, Melville, & 2019). The WM malfunction can last across the lifespan and individuals with autism exhibit large WM impairments in both phonological and visuospatial domains (Habib, Harris, Pollick & Melville, 2019). Despite the well-documented effects of WM impairments, little research has been dedicated to strategies for improving the working memory of children with autism.

Previous research found that individuals who verbally repeat a previously presented stimulus (i.e., rehearsal) tended to perform better than those who do not rehearse (Bebko, Rhee, Ncube, & Dahary, 2017; Joseph, Steele, Meyer, & Tager-Flusberg, 2005). In addition, among studies that investigated WM in children with autism, Baltruschat et al (2011a; 2011; 2012) conduct studies using positive reinforcement. Their results reveal that the positive reinforcement appeared to have produced better working memory.

The present study intends to investigate if training children with autism to use rehearsal strategy would improve their working memory. In addition, the investigators are also interested to see if reinforcement is a critical component that may provide additive effects beyond the effects of rehearsal. The investigators intend to randomly assign children to four different conditions: control, rehearsal, reinforcement, and rehearsal + reinforcement conditions. The results of this study should provide empirical evidence for practitioners to improve WM in children with autism.


Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Autism Behavioral: Rehearsal strategy Behavioral: Reinforcement Behavioral: Rehearsal strategy and reinforcement Not Applicable

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 15 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Factorial Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Improving Working Memory of Children With Autism Through Instruction on Rehearsal Strategy and Reinforcement
Actual Study Start Date : January 15, 2020
Actual Primary Completion Date : November 10, 2020
Actual Study Completion Date : November 10, 2020

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

MedlinePlus related topics: Memory

Arm Intervention/treatment
No Intervention: Control
No intervention will be provided for participants enrolled in the control group.
Experimental: Rehearsal
Participants will receive instruction on rehearsal strategy.
Behavioral: Rehearsal strategy
Teaching children to cumulatively rehearse numbers as they are being said.

Experimental: Reinforcement
Participants will receive reinforcement for correct recall.
Behavioral: Reinforcement
Providing reinforcement for correct recall after a delay.

Experimental: Rehearsal + Reinforcement
The participants in this group will receive instruction on rehearsal strategy and reinforcement for correct recall.
Behavioral: Rehearsal strategy and reinforcement
Teaching children to cumulatively rehearse numbers as they are being said, AND providing reinforcement for correct recall after a delay.




Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Change in percent recall [ Time Frame: Before, during, and up to 2 weeks after intervention. ]
    Participants will hear a sequence of digits or words (range from 1 to 9 stimuli) and then will be asked to recall the serial order after a delay (e.g., 9, 12, or 15 s). Percent correct recall of serial order will be calculated for all sequences as well as for each sequence size and delay. Change of percent recall from before, during, and after the intervention will be measured.


Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Change in percent strategy used. [ Time Frame: During the intervention, and up to 2 weeks after intervention. ]
    Percentage of trials in which a rehearsal strategy or another memory strategy is used will be calculated during and after the intervention. We will code the strategies used by participants and calculate the percentage of trials in which a rehearsal strategy or another strategy they used.



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Ages Eligible for Study:   4 Years to 8 Years   (Child)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No
Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  • have a diagnosis of autism
  • have an echoic repertoire

Exclusion Criteria:

  • problem behavior or noncompliance

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 ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT04209452


Locations
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China, Jiangxi
Jingdezhen Kindkids Autism Rehabilitation and Training Center
Jingdezhen, Jiangxi, China
China, Zhejiang
Sunshine Special Education Center
Taizhou, Zhejiang, China
China
Shanghai Xuhui Clover Children Healthy Garden
Shanghai, China
Sponsors and Collaborators
Arizona State University
Shanghai Xuhui Clover Children Healthy Garden
Jingdezhen Kindkids Autism Rehabilitation and Training Center
Sunshine Special Education Center
Investigators
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Principal Investigator: Chengan Yuan, PhD Arizona State University
Principal Investigator: Erin Rotheram-Fuller, PhD Arizona State University
Publications:
Baltruschat L, Hasselhorn M, Tarbox J, Dixon D R, Najdowski AC, Mullins R D, Gould, ER. Addressing working memory in children with autism through behavioral intervention. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders. 2011;5(1): 267-76. doi: 10.1016/j.rasd.2010.04.008
Bebko JM, Rhee T, Ncube BL, Dahary H. Effectiveness and Retention of Teaching Memory Strategy Use to Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder. Canadian Journal of School Psychology. 2017;32(3-4): 244-64. doi: 10.1177/0829573517699332

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Responsible Party: Arizona State University
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04209452    
Other Study ID Numbers: STUDY00010960
First Posted: December 24, 2019    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: November 12, 2020
Last Verified: November 2020
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
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Autistic Disorder
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Child Development Disorders, Pervasive
Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Mental Disorders