Simple Parental Strategies May Help 1-Year-Olds at Risk for ASD Parents of 1-year-olds at risk of developing autism spectrum disorder can employ simple, home-based strategies that may improve their child’s developmental outcomes, according to a new study published in Autism Research and Treatment. Scientists from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill—including lead author Grace Baranek of the Program ... Research in Brief
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Research in Brief  |   April 01, 2015
Simple Parental Strategies May Help 1-Year-Olds at Risk for ASD
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Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   April 01, 2015
Simple Parental Strategies May Help 1-Year-Olds at Risk for ASD
The ASHA Leader, April 2015, Vol. 20, 18. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB1.20042015.18
The ASHA Leader, April 2015, Vol. 20, 18. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB1.20042015.18
Parents of 1-year-olds at risk of developing autism spectrum disorder can employ simple, home-based strategies that may improve their child’s developmental outcomes, according to a new study published in Autism Research and Treatment.
Scientists from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill—including lead author Grace Baranek of the Program for Early Autism Research, Leadership and Service in the Department of Allied Health Sciences at the UNC School of Medicine—followed 18 families with a child at risk for ASD to gauge the effectiveness of a new intervention model that emphasizes parents’ involvement at home against a standard referral to early intervention and monitoring.
Screenings for ASD typically happen after a child is 24 months old because of delays in physician referrals and a lack of evidence-based treatments for infants and toddlers. The study sought to enlist younger children in intervention before the onset of full-blown ASD symptoms.
The new model—Adapted Responsive Teaching—is based on relationships in the home and responsive teaching. It requires parents to use adaptive responsive strategies—for example, following a child’s lead or imitating a child’s movements and communications. Because some 1-year-olds at risk for ASD do not respond when someone calls them by name or shows them something, they experience little back-and-forth interaction. Through ART, the child interacts more frequently with the parent.
“‘Imitate your child’ is just one example of an ART intervention strategy that is targeted to address one of 12 pivotal behaviors in our study,” Baranek says. “Each child has different strengths and weaknesses, so the intervention is individualized to the needs of the child, and necessarily varies across families.”
During this 20-month study, ART participants performed better than those in standard referral to early intervention and monitoring across several social-communication (expressive, receptive and social/play) and sensory-regulatory (sensory processing, regulatory processing and repetitive/atypical behaviors) functions.
The researchers note that although larger-sample studies are needed, the study builds on previous research that shows early identification of infants can lead to earlier ASD intervention, ultimately improving developmental outcomes.
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April 2015
Volume 20, Issue 4