Evaluation of Project DATA Intervention for Preschoolers with ASD
Core Function: Research and Evaluation
This project will evaluate the effectiveness of Project DATA (Developmentally Appropriate Treatment for Autism), a comprehensive preschool intervention for children with ASD, using a two-arm randomized clinical trial. Twelve schools have been participating, each with at least 10 children with clinical levels of ASD symptoms. Classrooms will be randomly assigned to the experimental or comparison (standard care) condition and children have been randomized to classrooms. Children enrolled will have an autism diagnosis or be at risk for an autism spectrum disorder, and will be between 16-30 months of age at the time of enrollment. Child assessments and parent reports will be administered pre-intervention and quarterly thereafter, including measures of symptoms, cognitive functioning, language, problem behavior, social behavior, engagement, and parent and family stress. Outcomes of the intervention include child cognition, language, social skills, and behavior. The investigators will also examine whether various child-level variables (e.g., gender, age, and severity of ASD symptoms) moderate the impact of the intervention, and whether family functioning and satisfaction with the intervention serve as potential mediators.