Evaluation of Project DATA Intervention for Toddlers with ASD
Core Function: Research and Evaluation
The purpose of the project is to evaluate the efficacy of a previously developed and pilot-tested model for very young children with ASD called Toddler Project DATA (Developmentally Appropriate Treatment for Autism), which was developed at the Haring Center. The major goals are to examine whether children receiving this intervention show greater gains in cognitive functioning, language, social relatedness, and adaptive behavior; whether parents of these children demonstrate gains in recommended parenting strategies and decreased stress; and whether the intervention is acceptable in terms of general satisfaction and ability to work effectively within the context of different cultures. The ultimate aim of the research is to provide information to the field of early intervention on feasible and beneficial community-based services for toddlers with ASD.
A randomized trial across the two sites, the University of Oklahoma and the University of Washington, is being conducted with a minimum of 40 children in intervention over the 4 year period, and 40 children in a comparison group. Children enrolled in the study will be children who have or are at risk for an Autism Spectrum Disorder who are under the age of 24 months at the time of enrollment. Child assessments and parent reports are administered pre-intervention and quarterly thereafter, including measures of symptoms, cognitive functioning, language, problem behavior, social behavior, engagement, and parent and family stress. Measures of adaptive behavior, family routines, and received child services will be collected at baseline and post-treatment. The project is using procedural monitoring to maintain treatment fidelity, balancing of key baseline group differences, blinded data collection with inter-rater reliability checks, and multiple core symptom assessments.