Joint Attention Intervention and Young 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. Identifier: NCT00378157
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : September 19, 2006
Last Update Posted : February 23, 2011
Centre for Child and Adolescent Mental Health
Information provided by:
Oslo University Hospital

Brief Summary:
The purpose of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of an intervention aimed to increase joint attention in 2-4 year old children with autism. The study will be conducted in mainstream preschools in Norway. The intervention will be implemented by preschool teachers and paraprofessionals supervised by trained counselors.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Autism Behavioral: Joint attention intervention Phase 1 Phase 2

Detailed Description:

Young children with autism experience severe deficit in joint attention skills (e.g. pointing to objects, showing, following another person's gaze, responding to invitations to social interaction). Ability to initiate and respond to joint attention is linked to children's later language abilities. As a mean to improve language outcome in children with autism, it is important to target joint attention in early intervention programs.

This study investigates the effectiveness of a joint attention intervention. Sixty 2-4 year old children with autism will be randomized to an intervention group or a control group. Children in both groups will continue their ordinary preschool program. However, the children in the intervention group will also participate in 80 joint attention intervention sessions. The sessions (20 minutes each) will be conducted twice a day for 8 weeks by preschool teachers or paraprofessionals working in the preschools. Before starting the intervention preschool teachers and paraprofessionals will be taught how to teach joint attention skills and how to initiate and maintain episodes of joint engagement. During the course of intervention they will be supervised by trained counselors.

Outcome measures will include joint attention skills, language skills and joint engagement. Children will be assessed at baseline, after 10 weeks and at follow up 6 months and 1 year after the end of the intervention. The measures are based on direct testing of the children, video observations and questionnaires to parent and professionals.

Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 61 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Effectiveness of Joint Attention Intervention in Young Children With Autism - a Randomized Study
Study Start Date : September 2006
Actual Primary Completion Date : December 2009
Actual Study Completion Date : January 2010

Intervention Details:
  • Behavioral: Joint attention intervention
    Eight weeks with two daily sessions (20 minutes) with joint attention intervention in the pre-school.

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. childrens score on measures of joint attention [ Time Frame: pre, post, follow up 6 months and 1 year ]

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. score on measures of joint engagement -child and mother [ Time Frame: pre, post, follow up 6 months and 1 year ]
  2. childrens score on measures of language [ Time Frame: pre and follow up 1 year ]
  3. parents and service providers perception of the intervention [ Time Frame: post, follow up 6 months and 1 year ]

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   24 Months to 60 Months   (Child)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • diagnosis of autism
  • age 2-4 year old

Exclusion Criteria:

  • severe mental retardation
  • severe clinical CNS disorders

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): NCT00378157

Ullevaal University Hospital
Oslo, Norway, 0319
Sponsors and Collaborators
Ullevaal University Hospital
Centre for Child and Adolescent Mental Health
Study Chair: Eili Sponheim, PhD Ullevaal University Hospital
Study Chair: Lars Smith, PhD University of Oslo (UiO)
Study Chair: Berit Grøholt, PhD University of Oslo (UiO)
Principal Investigator: Anett Kaale, PhD student Ullevaal University Hospital and Centre for Child and Adolecent Mental Health (R-BUP)

Publications automatically indexed to this study by Identifier (NCT Number):
Responsible Party: Ullevaal University Hospital/Centre for Child and Adolescent Mental Health (PI: Anett Kaale, Research Fellow) Identifier: NCT00378157     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: UUS 29560105
First Posted: September 19, 2006    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: February 23, 2011
Last Verified: February 2011

Keywords provided by Oslo University Hospital:
joint attention
joint engagement

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Autistic Disorder
Child Development Disorders, Pervasive
Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Mental Disorders