The overarching goal of the proposed project is to rigorously test an intervention program for parents and their infants at-risk of an ASD that is developmentally informed, child-centered and focused on joint attention, a core deficit in young children with autism and an important area of concern for at-risk infants. An early intervention research classroom focused on core deficits of Joint Attention, Symbolic Play, Engagement and Regulation (Baby JASPER) will be compared to a hospital based early intervention program that focuses on early motor development, cognition, adaptive and social skills (Baby Standard). Parents will be provided with training in both classrooms and children will receive therapist led intervention sessions and a weekly home visit to practice generalization of skills. This project tests whether a classroom focusing on joint attention and object interest/play facilitates greater social-communication outcomes than a widely used early intervention curriculum focused on broad developmental goals. The project addresses gaps in the 2011 lACC Strategic Plan, including the identification of individual characteristics that predict response to interventions, clinical trials aimed at identifying active ingredients of effective treatments, and identification of biological signatures as related to treatment response. This project has the potential to identify critical intervention elements for young infants at risk for autism. Participants will include 72 infants (aged 12 months to 21 months) and their parents who will be randomized to one of the two classrooms. Treatment will consist of two 3-hour sessions each week plus an additional hour of in-home training over 8 weeks with pre and post assessments and follow-ups at 4, 6 and 12 months to span a 12 month period of the infants'development. Primary outcome measures focus on social-communication and language abilities of the infants with secondary measures of parent interactions and electrophysiological measures to examine biomarkers of change with treatment as well as predictors of social communication outcomes. Since parents play a critical role in their children's development, an effective parent-mediated intervention with a focus on core deficits may result in better language, and ultimately, improved social outcomes for at-risk infants.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed study addresses gaps in our knowledge of early intervention for infants at risk of autism by a) testing the efficacy of an early social communication intervention (Baby JASPER) using a rigorous randomized controlled treatment design, b) intervening on core deficits of early autism, c) mediating intervention through the parent in both clinic and home settings;and (d) intergrating electrophysiological measures to better inform our predictors of outcomes.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Specialized Center (P50)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZHD1-DSR-Y)
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of California Los Angeles
Los Angeles
United States
Zip Code
Brenner, Laurie A; Shih, Vivian H; Colich, Natalie L et al. (2015) Time reproduction performance is associated with age and working memory in high-functioning youth with autism spectrum disorder. Autism Res 8:29-37
Jann, Kay; Gee, Dylan G; Kilroy, Emily et al. (2015) Functional connectivity in BOLD and CBF data: similarity and reliability of resting brain networks. Neuroimage 106:111-22
Del Rosario, Mithi; Gillespie-Lynch, Kristen; Johnson, Scott et al. (2014) Parent-reported temperament trajectories among infant siblings of children with autism. J Autism Dev Disord 44:381-93
Alaerts, Kaat; Woolley, Daniel G; Steyaert, Jean et al. (2014) Underconnectivity of the superior temporal sulcus predicts emotion recognition deficits in autism. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 9:1589-600
Gaugler, Trent; Klei, Lambertus; Sanders, Stephan J et al. (2014) Most genetic risk for autism resides with common variation. Nat Genet 46:881-5
Di Martino, A; Yan, C-G; Li, Q et al. (2014) The autism brain imaging data exchange: towards a large-scale evaluation of the intrinsic brain architecture in autism. Mol Psychiatry 19:659-67
Zwaigenbaum, Lonnie; Young, Gregory S; Stone, Wendy L et al. (2014) Early head growth in infants at risk of autism: a baby siblings research consortium study. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 53:1053-62
Schneider, Maude; Debbané, Martin; Bassett, Anne S et al. (2014) Psychiatric disorders from childhood to adulthood in 22q11.2 deletion syndrome: results from the International Consortium on Brain and Behavior in 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome. Am J Psychiatry 171:627-39
Tak, Sungho; Wang, Danny J J; Polimeni, Jonathan R et al. (2014) Dynamic and static contributions of the cerebrovasculature to the resting-state BOLD signal. Neuroimage 84:672-80
Mullen, Brian R; Khialeeva, Elvira; Hoffman, Daniel B et al. (2013) Decreased reelin expression and organophosphate pesticide exposure alters mouse behaviour and brain morphology. ASN Neuro 5:e00106

Showing the most recent 10 out of 41 publications