Drs. Wendy Stone and Paul Yoder recently completed a 5-year NIH grant to study the use of an intervention called Project ImPACT (Improving Parents as Communication Teachers). Project ImPACT is a parent-implemented intervention that provides 24 in-home teaching sessions over 12 weeks. Our research was conducted with families who have a child with ASD and a younger sibling 12-18 months old, as later-born siblings of children with ASD are at elevated risk for social-communication delays or ASD. For this study, 97 ‘high risk’ siblings were recruited across Vanderbilt University and UW, and were randomized to either the ImPACT intervention or a control group condition.
Two papers resulting from the study are now published online in the journal ‘Autism.’ Collectively, these results suggest that: (1) ImPACT can be an effective parent-mediated intervention for improving communication in 12-18-month old younger siblings of children with ASD; and (2) some improvements occurred only in a subgroup who were identified as having lowest additional risk (i.e., females who screened at low-risk on a parent-report ASD screen and had only one older sibling with ASD.)
We want to express our most sincere gratitude to the families who participated in this study. We enjoyed getting to know all of them during their four visits to the lab. We would also like to acknowledge the efforts of numerous READi Lab members whose contributions to this project have been immeasurable.