Early Steps Study
Core Function: Research and Evaluation
Researchers at the University of Washington want to learn more about outcomes for very young children who are showing early signs of autism. The information gained in this study may improve methods of intervention for infants who are at risk for developing autism and lead to better outcomes for these young children and their families.
In conjunction with researchers at the University of California - Davis and the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, researchers at the University of Washington will provide developmental assessment of infants participating in this study. Families will be seen for four sets of evaluations over the course of two and one half years. Researchers will monitor the development of all children in the study and provide clinical referrals to address any developmental needs identified. All qualifying families will be randomized into one of two groups, "UW Intervention" or "Assessment and Monitoring". Through randomization some families will receive a UW-provided intervention and some will be able to choose any intervention available in the greater Seattle community. This is necessary in order to determine how new interventions compare to existing ones.
Families in the "UW Intervention" group will begin with a 12-week parent-delivered intervention in which a parent or caregiver and child who is at-risk for ASD will attend weekly sessions at the University of Washington. If families still qualify for the study after the 12-week parent-delivered intervention phase, children will engage in a two year, 20 hour per week, in-home intervention offered by UW-trained therapists. Families in the "Assessment and Monitoring" group will be given referrals to community service providers who are qualified to address any developmental needs identified in the UW assessment.
Families are encouraged and assisted to choose the therapy they wish from the services that are available to them. All families will be seen for four assessment evaluations during the duration of the study years. Researchers will provide feedback as to each child's progress and be able to review each child's strengths and learning needs with parents/caregivers.