$3.1M grant awarded to study a classroom-based intervention for preschoolers with autism

A team of researchers in the Department of Allied Health Sciences have been awarded a $3.1 million grant from the Institute of Education Sciences to study the efficacy of an intervention for preschool-aged children with autism.

The intervention under study, Advancing Social-Communication and Play (ASAP), was developed by a multidisciplinary team of researchers from UNC through a prior grant funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). The ASAP intervention, designed for use in public preschool classrooms, targets key social-communication and play skills in young children with autism. This new, multi-site grant also was funded by IES. This grant involves the use of a cluster randomized trial design and a total of 80 preschool classrooms serving young children with autism to test the efficacy of the developed intervention. Half of the study classrooms will be randomly assigned to the ASAP intervention group, and the other half will continue their typical classroom instruction. This study will span four years, and involve researchers from three other universities: Portland State University, University of Miami, and University of Minnesota. Doctors Brian Boyd and Linda Watson serve as co-principal investigators on the project, along with colleagues Doctors Grace Baranek and Betsy Crais.