A Multisite Evaluation of a School-Based Model for Preschoolers with Autism
Funding Source: Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Special Education Research (subcontract with the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center)
Principal Investigator: Ilene Schwartz
Project Director: Jennifer Fung
Collaborative Partners: Bonnie McBride, Mark Chaffin, David Bard (University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center)
To address the need for effective, rigorously-tested treatment models for children with autism, this study will evaluate a model that proves promising for preschool-age children with ASD. Project DATA (Developmentally Appropriate Treatment for Autism), which was developed at the Haring Center, has been in existence for over 10 years. While outcome data for Project DATA is promising, efficacy data has not been established. The goal of this efficacy and replication project is to evaluate Project DATA, a school-based model of intervention for children with autism. The Project DATA model will be compared to typical public school classroom service model on standardized measures of development as well as family functioning.
A randomized trial across the two sites, the University of Oklahoma and the University of Washington, will be conducted with a minimum of 120 children per year over the five-year period. 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. Measures of adaptive behavior, family routines, and received child services will be collected at baseline and post-treatment. The project will use 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.