Therapy for Minimally Verbal Autistic Adults

We are inviting autistic adults who have limited verbal communication to participate in a research study that includes 12 weeks of therapy. This would be helpful for people who are struggling with “feeling down”, which can be seen as low or sad mood, change in motivation to participate in activities, and change in sleep. 1-2 people who support the adult would join in the therapy to provide support and learn, as well.

What are the goals of the study?

This study is adapting a mental health treatment for people with intellectual disability to meet the needs of minimally verbal autistic adults.

What will happen during the visit or online?

The participant will complete 12 therapy sessions and assessment visits to check in how they are doing along the way. The 1-2 people who come with them to support and learn will also participate

How will this help families?

This study is about a mental health treatment for minimally verbal autistic adults.

Research has described difficulties in recognising other people’s emotions in people with autism. Until now, however, there are few efficient and reliable methods for identifying these difficulties. Together with the University of Zurich, the Swiss Epilepsy Centre is developing the COSIMO online test to fill this gap.

What are the goals of the study?

Through this study we can further develop the COSIMO test and advance our knowledge of emotion recognition in people with autism.

What will happen during the visit or online?

In this anonymous online study you will be tasked with identifying emotions portrayed in short film sequences and still images of the eyes. It will take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete.

How will this help families?

Difficulties in recognising other people’s emotions have important implications for the social life of affected individuals. Identifying potential difficulties with emotion recognition has been found to be relevant for therapeutic interventions in Autism Spectrum Disorders, in order to improve possible difficulties with work or other relationships.

My name is Samri and I am a research participant recruiter from Miami University’s Later Language Development Lab. I am reaching out to you today with the opportunity to contribute to our NIH-supported research on the development of a social communication assessment tool which targets adolescents and young adults at the age of transition. We are currently seeking participants between the ages of 14 and 21 years old with a native proficiency in English and typical hearing. We are asking that participants meet one-on-one with a member of our research team for 1-1.5 hours via Zoom to answer a series of interview questions which probe their knowledge of how to communicate in different contexts. After, the participant will be paid the sum of $30-50 via Zelle for their involvement. This study is being conducted by Dr. Trace Poll from the Speech Pathology and Audiology Department at Miami University alongside Jan Petru from Elmhurst University, who is acting as our clinical consultant for the study.

What are the goals of the study?

Specifically, we are continuing research on our development of a social communication assessment tool tailored to adolescents and young adults preparing for the transition from high school to post-school contexts. This tool that we are developing is called the Transition Pragmatics Interview (or the TPI).

What will happen during the visit or online?

This commitment includes the signing of a consent form, the completion of a brief history form, and a 1-1.5 hour meeting via Zoom to answer interview questions probing their knowledge of how to communicate in different situational contexts.

How will this help families?

The information from this project provides information on the degree to which the TPI is a valid and reliable measure of social communication. Speech-language pathologists, special educators and related professionals currently lack assessment instruments that address the population and contexts targeted by the TPI. The project will indicate how the TPI may improve on clinical judgment, or the findings of instruments less targeted to the needs of adolescents and young adults with disabilities in transition programs. Fundamentally, the results will indicate how the TPI may be refined in order to become a more valid and reliable measure.

This is just a test

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The Autism Intervention Network for Behavioral Health (AIRB) has set the standard for developing, implementing and evaluating interventions in under-resourced communities, including impoverished schools and communities, and with families from traditionally disenfranchised groups. This study builds on previous AIRB work to investigate methods of sustaining evidence-based practices to support autistic students in schools. Through participating in this study, you will not only be contributing to data that will impact future practices, but you/your child’s educator will also receive free training in evidence based methods to support your autistic student/child.

What are the goals of the study?

To develop and evaluate a multi-phase implementation and sustainment strategy to support evidence-based practice use across different ASD interventions, settings and ages. Objectives (non-exhaustive): Conduct studies in under-resourced settings, test a multi-phase implementation strategy using rigorous scientific methods, and deliver training for evidence-based interventions using remote delivery methods; develop and test tools and resource guidelines to promote access to and sustainability of effective interventions; widely disseminate interventions, tools, and guideline

What will happen during the visit or online?

Participants will be expected to complete a 10-15 minute online survey. The first 100 participants will be award

There are 2 types of participants we are recruiting for this study:

  1. Elementary school level educators/staff:
    Educators will be expected to be matched with at least one elementary aged student that meets the student participation criteria whom they will support at recess throughout the school year. Educators will receive an introduction to Remaking Recess – a social engagement intervention for autistic students and their peers. It covers topics such as assessment, communication, flexibility, and conflict mediation. School staff, such as paraeducators, will be trained to use Remaking Recess and will be provided coaching from trained research personnel. Educators will be asked to fill out surveys at 3 time points during the study – at the start of the school year, at the end of the school year, and at the start of the following school year. Completion of surveys for each time point will be awarded with a $25 gift card.
  2. Elementary aged students with ASD/NDD diagnosis and spend 50% or more of their time in general education:
    Students will receive support at recess from the educator they are paired with in creating social connections, increasing flexibility, improving communication and social skills, and so on. One parent/legal guardian of each student will be asked to complete a survey about their child.

How will this help families?

This study will provide free Remaking Recess training for participating educators at your child’s school. This will help educators understand how to support your child at recess, including facilitating peer interactions, teaching flexibility, and modeling social behaviors. Your student will benefit from the extra training that their educators will receive, and we hope that the skills their educators learn from this study will continue even after the study is over.

Disruptive behaviors impact meaningful engagement in academic tasks and with peers, as well as result in placement in more restrictive settings, higher use of restraint procedures, and suspension, all of which have lasting negative impacts. School-based behavioral management approaches, while effective, are time-consuming and resource-intensive, resulting in high costs and delays in intervention deployment. There is a need for a paradigm shift in the care model for disruptive behaviors in the classroom, specifically an efficient and pragmatic intervention model that builds capacity with direct care providers, which in turn streamlines the intervention process, reduces the need for intensive behavioral supports (thus lowering costs), and increases the number of autistic children who can be served — RUBIES hopes to fulfill this need.

What are the goals of the study?

Our pilot randomized trial seeks to test the effectiveness of and understand how the newly redesigned “RUBIES” Intervention can assist and empower paraeducators in addressing and reducing disruptive behaviors in their elementary autistic students.

What will happen during the visit or online?

After the student is deemed eligible, paraeducators will be randomly assigned to one of two interventions: RUBIES training (delivered live over Zoom with a trained specialist) or Psychoeducation in Autism training (delivered asynchronously through pre-recorded webinars with the option to check-in with a live coach). Each intervention has 8 sessions to be completed over 12 weeks. RUBIES participants will be invited to a semi-structured interview (45-60 minutes), which will be audio recorded and virtually conducted.

How will this help families?

The most accessed service system for autistic children is the public school system. By building capacity with these children’s direct care providers (paraeducators, in the case of RUBIES), our study can help improve the support their children receive in schools. Many paraeducators, who often have the most intimate interaction with these students, are undertrained when it comes to support autistic students – let alone, autistic students when disruptive behaviors arise.