Project Detail
Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) logo
Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC) logo

Development of an executive function-based intervention for autism spectrum disorder  

Children with Asperger's Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism (AS/HFA) are bright, caring people who have much to offer society, but have problems with aspects of executive function (EF): flexible thinking and behavior, integration, planning, and being organized. These EF problems in children with AS/HFA interfere with learning and behavior in the classroom and relate to the repetitive behaviors and social difficulties characteristic of the disorder. This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant will be used to develop an innovative home-based intervention to improve children's flexibility skills. The Enhanced Flexibility Intervention (EFI) aims to increase the ability of children with AS/HFA to think and behave flexibly through a staged approach of cognitive instruction, guided practice, and generalization. Further, the EFI provides support for these increased flexibility skills with other EF skills, such as planning, coping/self-regulation, and self-evaluation. EFI specifically targets the third domain of the autism diagnostic triad (repetitive behaviors, activities and interests and insistence on sameness), an area that is not often targeted by other interventions but significantly interferes with learning and social interactions. Because classroom teachers, school staff, and parents developed the EFI through a participatory framework and will deliver this intervention in the child's school and home, the EFI techniques are infused into real-life contexts in which flexibility and other EF skills are in high demand. With development of this novel intervention, researchers hope to help children with AS/HFA better access mainstream educational, social, and employment opportunities. Project Status


Funder National Institutes of Health
Fiscal Year Funding $258,000.00
Current Award Period 2010-2013
Project Number 1R34MH083053-01A2
Principal Investigator Anthony, Laura; Kenworthy, Lauren
Received ARRA Funding? No
Strategic Plan Question Question 4: Which Treatments And Interventions Will Help? (Treatments)
Subcategory Educational
Strategic Plan Objective 4O. Not specific to Question 4 objectives
Federal or Private? Federal
Institution Children's Research Institute
State/Country District of Columbia
Web Link 1 Development of an executive function-based intervention for autism spectrum disorder (External web link)
Web Link 2 No URL available.
Web Link 3 No URL available.
New! History/Related Projects Not available at this time. This functionality is experimental.