Improving Attention Skills of Children With Autism

2014-08-27 03:55:01 | BioPortfolio


Toddlers with autism have poor joint attention skills. Joint attention skills include pointing to objects, following another person’s gaze, and responding to invitations to join in a social interaction. Improved joint attention skills may lead to better verbal ability as the child ages. This study teaches caregivers how to help their toddlers with autism develop joint attention skills.


Young children with autism show impairment in joint attention. The impairment affects their ability to sustain a shared interest in social interaction and to use specific joint attention skills, such as pointing and showing. The importance of joint attention is underscored by data suggesting these skills are important to later language skills. Targeting joint attention deficits in developmentally young children using familiar caregivers may result in better child language outcomes. This study will teach caregivers how to initiate and maintain episodes of joint engagement with their children.

Participants will be randomized to either the intervention group or to a wait list control group. Each caregiver and child in the intervention group will participate in 24 1-hour sessions, 3 times a week for 8 weeks. In these sessions, caregivers will be taught 10 different modules for teaching joint attention skills to their children. Outcome measures will include language and joint attention skills in the child and caregiver adherence to the intervention protocols. Children and caregivers will be assessed at baseline, during the course of the 8-week intervention, and 10 weeks after the end of the intervention. Participants assigned to the wait list group will begin the intervention at Week 12.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Control: Placebo Control, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Treatment




Caregiver joint attention intervention


University of California, Los Angeles
Los Angeles
United States




Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:55:01-0400

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

A childhood disorder predominately affecting boys and similar to autism (AUTISTIC DISORDER). It is characterized by severe, sustained, clinically significant impairment of social interaction, and restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior. In contrast to autism, there are no clinically significant delays in language or cognitive development. (From DSM-IV)

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Lack of stability of a joint or joint prosthesis. Factors involved are intra-articular disease and integrity of extra-articular structures such as joint capsule, ligaments, and muscles.

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