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

1/3-Multisite RCT of early intervention for spoken communication in autism  

While significant progress has been made toward identifying effective interventions for preschool-age children with autism, few scientifically rigorous studies have compared the essential elements of these interventions or examined outcomes focused on core deficits. To address these areas of need, this collaborative, multi-site project combines the expertise of investigators experienced in randomized controlled clinical trials (RCTs), in the study of core deficits in young children with autism, and in data management and analysis of multi-site clinical trials. The goal of this project is to compare the efficacy of two interventions for improving spoken language and reducing symptoms of autism: (1) Discrete trial training (DTT), which is an applied behavior analysis approach emphasizing learning readiness skills and (2) Interpersonal developmental approach (IDA), which is a child-focused approach that focuses on social engagement. Each site will recruit 64 children with autism, 3-4 years of age, who are engaged in 25 hour per week early intervention programs. This intervention will be augmented with two 30-minute sessions daily of the study intervention (DTT or IDA) conducted by supervised therapists for 4 months, with transition to home therapy for 2 months. The primary aims are to compare intervention conditions (DTT and IDA) on child outcomes of spoken language and core deficits of social features of autism both at the end of treatment and 6 months later, as well as to examine potential moderators (e.g., mental age, language age) on treatment outcome. Secondary exploratory analyses focus on potential mediators (parent synchronization of joint attention and changes in parental expectancies) and non-specific factors (quality and quantity of community treatment). Project Status


Funder National Institutes of Health
Fiscal Year Funding $547,162.00
Current Award Period 2009-2014
Project Number 5R01MH084864-02
Principal Investigator Kasari, Connie
Received ARRA Funding? No
Strategic Plan Question Question 4: Which Treatments And Interventions Will Help? (Treatments)
Subcategory Behavioral
Strategic Plan Objective Green dot: Objective has greater than or equal to the recommended funding. 4SF. Launch five randomized controlled trials of interventions including biological signatures and other measures to predict response, and monitor quality of life and functional outcomes, in each of the following groups:
  • Five trials in infants and toddlers by 2013. IACC Recommended Budget: $30,000,000 over 5 years.
  • Three randomized controlled trials of interventions for school-aged children and/or adolescents by 2013. IACC Recommended Budget: $18,000,000 over 5 years.
  • Three trials for adults by 2014. IACC Recommended Budget: $18,000,000 over 5 years.
Federal or Private? Federal
Institution University of California, Los Angeles
State/Country California
Web Link 1 1/3-Multisite RCT of early intervention for spoken communication in autism (External web link)
Web Link 2 No URL available.
Web Link 3 No URL available.
History/Related Projects 1/3-Multisite RCT of early intervention for spoken communication in autism | $545,574.00 | 2009 | 1R01MH084864-01A1