Development of a Social and Communication Intervention for Preschoolers with Autism

Principal Investigator: Rebecca Landa

This is a multiphase study designed to examine the proposed intervention and how it translates for use in authentic educational settings by teachers of preschoolers with ASD. The primary aim of this study is to further develop an early ASD intervention that targets core social and communication deficits of ASD, is cost-effective, can be feasibly implemented throughout the school day in authentic educational settings for preschoolers with ASD, and that may be integrated with teachers’ existing preferred practices. Through the information collected in this study, an intervention manual will be developed consisting of a supplemental curriculum targeting interpersonal synchrony and communication developmental skills.

This study involves three phases of participant recruitment and a fourth phase for data analysis and material development. Phase 0 will consist solely of educators partaking in a Focus Group. Phase 1 will involve educators being trained and then implementing the intervention in preschool classrooms. Phase 2 will involve a RCT to assess the outcomes of those teaching/receiving the intervention to those who are not.

Participants will be obtained through Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) and will include a maximum of 32 educators, 60 children aged 3- to 6- years-old, and 60 parents (one parent per child). Along with receiving the intervention at their schools, children and their parents will come into the lab for pre and post-treatment assessments. Educators will also be coming into the lab prior to the start of the intervention for trainings.