Randomized comparative efficacy study of parent-mediated interventions for toddlers with autism

Academic Article


  • Objective: This study compared effects of two parent-mediated interventions on joint engagement outcomes as augmentations of an early intervention program for toddlers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Method: Participants included 86 toddlers (range 22-36 months) with ASD and their primary caregiver. Caregiver-child dyads were randomized to receive 10 weeks of hands-on parent training in a naturalistic, developmental behavioral intervention (joint attention, symbolic play, engagement and regulation - JASPER) or a parent-only psychoeducational intervention (PEI). Dose was controlled in terms of researcher-parent contact and early intervention services received by the child. Results: Results yielded significant effects of the JASPER intervention on the primary outcome of joint engagement. The treatment effect was large (Cohen's f2 = .69) and maintained over the 6-month follow-up. JASPER effects were also found on secondary outcomes of play diversity, highest play level achieved, and generalization to the child's classroom for child-initiated joint engagement. The PEI intervention was found to be effective in reducing parenting stress associated with child characteristics. All secondary effects were generally small to moderate. Conclusions: These data highlight the benefit of a brief, targeted, parent-mediated intervention on child outcomes. Future studies may consider the combination of JASPER and PEI treatments for optimal parent and child outcomes.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Kasari C; Gulsrud A; Paparella T; Hellemann G; Berry K
  • Start Page

  • 554
  • End Page

  • 563
  • Volume

  • 83
  • Issue

  • 3