Optimizing Social and Communication Outcomes for Toddlers 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. Identifier: NCT00999778
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : October 22, 2009
Last Update Posted : August 16, 2012
Autism Speaks
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Connie Kasari, University of California, Los Angeles

October 21, 2009
October 22, 2009
August 16, 2012
July 2008
July 2012   (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
  • Cognitive Assessment - Mullen Scales of Early Learning (MSEL) [ Time Frame: Before treatment begins and at the 6 month follow up ]
  • Language Assessment - Reynell Developmental Language Scales [ Time Frame: Before treatment begins and at 6 month follow up ]
Same as current
Complete list of historical versions of study NCT00999778 on Archive Site
  • Language Sample - The Caregiver Child Interaction will be coded at each timepoint to obtain a 10 minute sample of the child's language transcription will yield a measure of lexical density, type-token ration and mean length of utterances [ Time Frame: Prior to Intervention, two follow up points 3 month post intervention and 6 months post intervention ]
  • Early Social-Communication Scales; frequencies of initiating and responses of joint attention behaviors to toys and l interaction - sessions will be video taped [ Time Frame: Before intervention, at the end of intervention and at the 3 and 6 month follow up ]
  • MacArthur Communicative Development Inventories [ Time Frame: Before Intervention, after intervention at 3 month and 6 month follow ups ]
  • Parent Expectancy/Belief in the Intervention - assesses caregiver beliefs that the intervention is appropriate and working for the child [ Time Frame: Before intervention and once during each phase of the intervention for total of 3 ratings (during intervention) ]
  • ADOS - The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule - semi-structured, standardized assessment of communication, social interaction, play and imaginative use of materials [ Time Frame: Prior to intervention (determines eligibility) and 6 months post intervention ]
  • Generalization of skills to classroom - Observational measure to determine whether child show generalization of skill to the classroom,and in interaction with teachers & peers [ Time Frame: Prior to intervention and once during each phase of intervention ]
  • Coding of child behaviors in classroom - using time sampling procedure, four different contexts; direct instruction, structure play, circle-time, unstructured play [ Time Frame: during intervention ]
  • Caregiver-child interaction - A 10-minute interaction between parent and child [ Time Frame: Pre-intervention, 3 times turing active intervention, post treatment and at 3 and 6 months follow-up ]
  • ADI-R Clinical diagnostic instrument for assessing autism in children [ Time Frame: Prior to intervention to determine eligibility for participation in the study ]
  • Parenting Stress - The Parenting Stress Index (PSI) measuring parents reported stress associated with the care of autistic child [ Time Frame: Prior to interventin, at the end of intervention and 6 month follow-up ]
Same as current
Not Provided
Not Provided
Optimizing Social and Communication Outcomes for Toddlers With Autism
Optimizing Social and Communication Outcomes for Toddlers With Autism
This project will examine the efficacy of two different treatment approaches aimed at facilitating change in social and communications outcomes of toddlers with autism.

The proposed research tests a theoretically and empirically derived treatment approach aimed at facilitating change in joint attention interactions between caregivers and their toddlers with autism. Young children with autism show impairments in engaging in joint attention skills such as pointing and showing. The importance of joint attention is underscored by data showing that these skills are important to later development of language. Yet these interaction and skills deficits have rarely been the focus of systematic intervention efforts, particularly with caregivers. Moreover, current interventions for young children wiht autism are behavioral in approach, therapist driven, and often exclude the lowest functioning and developmentally youngest children. Thus, targeting these deficits in developmentally young children using familiar caregivers may result in better language outcomes for these children.

The overarching goal of the proposed project is to rigorously test an intervention program for caregivers and their toddlers with autism that is developmentally informed, child-centered and focused on joint attention intervention with their toddlers versus mothers who receive parent education about autism and child development.

The Primary aims of this research are as follows:

  • Aim 1: To determine if caregiver mediated intervention on joint engagement is superior to caregiver education on social communication and language outcomes in children.
  • Aim 2: To determine if skill development in the context of caregiver child interaction transfers to interactions with classroom teachers and peers.
  • Aim 3: To examine characteristics of families and children that best predict social-communication outcome.
Not Applicable
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Single (Care Provider)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Behavioral: Caregiver-Mediated Intervention
    1 (two- 1/2 jour sessions weekly) hour of intervention per week for 10 weeks in which parents and their child meet with the interventionist together using the caregiver as a means to facilitate change in their child's development
  • Behavioral: Caregiver-Education Intervention
    The caregiver meets 1 time (1 hour each session) a week for 10 weeks with an interventionist - caregiver will receive information on child development and have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss the information vis-a-vis their own child
  • Active Comparator: Caregiver Education Intervention
    10 1:1,one hour sessions weekly for 10 weeks with parent and interventionist. Behavioral education strategies will be targeted
    Intervention: Behavioral: Caregiver-Education Intervention
  • Active Comparator: Caregiver-Mediated Intervention
    One hour 1:1 with parent, child and interventionist, each week, for 10 weeks social communication and joint engagement strategies will be targeted
    Intervention: Behavioral: Caregiver-Mediated Intervention

*   Includes publications given by the data provider as well as publications identified by Identifier (NCT Number) in Medline.
August 2012
July 2012   (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Child meets screening criteria for PDD
  • Not currently enrolled in a pre-existing intervention program
  • Parent is available for intervention
  • Child must be ready to start in the Early Childhood Partial Hospitalization Program (ECPHP) at UCLA

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Child does not have other sensory or genetic disorders
  • Children already on medication on the outset, although we find few toddlers already on medication when they begin treatment. If children begin medication after treatment commences, then we will keep all informatin and data pertaining to possible medication effects and statistically convey medication use if necessary
  • Co-morbidity, participant diagnosed with other diseases
  • Family/participant unable to follow-up
Sexes Eligible for Study: All
18 Months to 36 Months   (Child)
Contact information is only displayed when the study is recruiting subjects
United States
1P50HD055784( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
Not Provided
Not Provided
Connie Kasari, University of California, Los Angeles
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
Autism Speaks
Principal Investigator: Connie Kasari, Ph.D University of California, Los Angeles
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
August 2012

ICMJE     Data element required by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors and the World Health Organization ICTRP