ARRA: Randomized Study of Training in Autism

Grants and Contracts Details


This application addresses broad Challenge Area (04) Clinical Research and specific Challenge Topic, 04-MI-I-Wi, Autism: Addressing the challenge. Although the focus on early identification efforts in recent years has been effective in sharply increasing the number of children with autism receiving services in schools, those services are of uneven quality, and there is a critical need to improve access to and receipt of high quality early intervention services that are available to all children with autism, regardless of family income, race or geographic location. Because all special education teachers need to be adequately prepared to educate children with autism, understanding effective training methods for supporting teachers' implementation of evidence-based interventions is an urgent issue for our field. The purpose of this study is to examine three types of professional development models of training and compare their effects on child and teacher outcomes. The primary aim is to generate data on the impact of consultation plus in-classroom teacher coaching vs. consultation plus web-based teacher coaching prospectively by following 25 children whose teachers receive only basic, noninteractive online autism training, 25 children whose teachers and parents also receive consultation followed by in-classroom teacher coaching, and 25 children whose teachers and parents receive consultation followed by web- based teacher coaching. The online training acts a placebo-control for the consultation plus teacher coaching (in-classroom vs. web-based). The design of the study will allow for examination of the relative merits of different components of the intervention. The consultation model that both conditions (in-classroom and web-based teacher coaching) will receive is based on the Collaborative Model for Promoting Competence and Success (COMPASS; Ruble & Dalrymple, 2002). We have received an R-34 from NJIMH to collect preliminary data on the effectiveness of COMPASS (Ruble, McGrew, & Dalrymple, 2009). Based on preliminary data, we hypothesize that child outcomes will be higher for the two conditions that receive consultation and coaching compared to the placebo-control condition. The child outcome that will be measured is achievement of targeted IEP objectives. A secondary aim is to evaluate the impact of consultation type on parent stress. Based on the pilot study, we expect type of condition to influence parent stress similar to that hypothesized under the primary aim. Another secondary aim is to generate data on additional factors that may account for differences in child and teacher outcomes. Variables that may contribute to variance in child and parent outcomes that will be collected include: (a) Child factors (Severity of autism; Developmental parameters - lQ, language level, adaptive behavior); (b) Teacher factors (Urban or rural; Quality of IEP; Years of teaching children with autism; Stress); (c) Parent/caregiver factors (Socioeconomic status; Stress).
Effective start/end date9/1/098/31/12


  • National Institute of Mental Health: $999,995.00


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