The future of autism research and treatment is focused on early childhood. As most parents and scientists know, early intervention is key for better treatment and better results. However, many children are not being diagnosed with autism until age 4 or 5.
Autism Speaks just granted $765,937 to Sally J. Rogers and fellow researchers at UC Davis MIND Institute to extend their research into ground-breaking autism treatments for younger children.
Rogers also works with Annette Estes of the Center for Human Development and Disability at the University of Washington in Seattle, who also received money from Autism Speaks.
Their research focuses on young children, ages 12 to 30 months. The research is testing smart phone technology, new child assessment approaches, and other interventions in order to evaluate the effectiveness of parent-implemented treatments. As many parents wait for a diagnosis, they are researching and implementing these interventions.
The researchers believe parent interventions are very important for autism treatment, but we do not know to what extent these interventions have on their own. This research is particularly relevant for those individuals with autism who do not have access to other resources and therapeutic care.
This project, known as the Parent and Toddlers with ASD at Home, or PATH project, is designed to help parents improve social and communicative learning opportunities at home through typical daily living and care-giving activities. The purpose is also to find the most effective treatments that parents can put into use through a daily routine.
To record data, researchers are using parent self-monitoring, data collection from mobile technology, and videos for parents to show the researchers what interventions they are implementing at home.
For more information about UC David and the MIND Institute visit mindinstitute.ucdavis.edu.