Children and families from United Services are volunteering to participate in research studies that will advance the diagnosis and treatment of autism.
Recently published studies report that functional neuroimaging of high-risk, 6-month-old infants predicts a diagnosis of autism at 24 months of age (Emerson, 2017). Infant viewing of social scenes is under genetic control and is atypical in autism (Constantino, 2017). Researchers from Washington University are identifying methods to diagnose infants using advance neuroimaging. Identification of at-risk infants can result in earlier intervention and improved outcomes.
Families of United Services have participated in studies at Washington University, including the Infant Sibling Study and the Early Development of Reciprocal Social Behavior Study.
Washington University representatives will be available to share information at the Exploring the Spectrum autism information fair on March 24, at the Spencer Road Library community commons.
Because identification of at-risk children can result in earlier intervention and improved outcomes; United Services staff actively apply evidence-based interventions to facilitate progress for children in our Early Intervention programs. We currently have two projects addressing the use of evidence-based interventions.
First, families are participating in a project involving Pivotal Response Training (PRT), funded through a grant from Boeing ECF. PRT is an evidence-based, behavioral strategy that targets pivotal areas of a child’s development, such as social motivation, communication, self-management and initiations of social interactions. We are tracking outcomes as we use PRT with families.
Second, children are involved in a clinical doctoral project conducted by United Services Therapy Director Leslie Tucker to integrate video modeling into our early intervention program. Children and families involved in both interventions have gained skills! To learn more, email Leslie Tucker or call 636-926-2700, ext. 751.