Research Findings

Research Findings

The randomized controlled efficacy study of the JAML intervention, which capitalized on the parent-toddler relationship and natural interactional learning opportunities in a 32-week intervention, examined results for 144 toddlers with autism aged 16 to 33 months. Results showed post-intervention effects for intervention participants in targeted preverbal social communication outcomes with most effects maintaining 6 months after intervention.

Schertz, H. H., Odom, S. L., Baggett, K. M., & Sideris, J. H. (2018). Mediating parent learning to promote social communication for toddlers with autism: Effects from a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders48(3), 853-867. Link

Schertz, H. H., Odom, S. L., Baggett, K. B., & Sideris, J. H. (2017). Randomized controlled trial: Joint Attention Mediated Learning. In International Society for Autism Research Abstract Book (pp. 157-158). Link

Effects of the Joint Attention Mediated Learning (JAML) parent-mediated intervention for toddlers with autism were investigated in a small randomized study. Significant differences favored JAML participants for responding to joint attention, focusing on face, and receptive language. Moderate effect sizes were also found for JAML recipients for turn-taking, initiating joint attention, and expressive communication.

Schertz, H. H., Odom, S. L., Baggett, K. M., & Sideris, J. H. (2013). Effects of Joint Attention Mediated Learning for toddlers with autism spectrum disorders: An initial randomized controlled study. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 28(2), 249-258. Link

A parent-report instrument, the Repetitive Behavior Scale-Revised (RBS-R), showed acceptable internal consistency for toddlers with autism. Stereotypical behaviors were more strongly associated with adaptive and social indicators than with cognitive indicators. Relative to older groups reported in other research, toddlers showed higher levels of stereotyped behavior and lower levels of ritualistic/sameness.

Schertz, H. H., Odom, S. L., Baggett, K. M., & Sideris, J. H. (2016). Parent-reported repetitive behavior in toddlers on the autism spectrum. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders46(10), 3308-3316. Link

This article provides guidance for early intervention professionals in the field who work with very young children with early indicators of autism. Focus areas include framing intervention content appropriately, strategies for effectively leveraging the parent-child relationship as a venue for child learning, and promoting parent competence and confidence in this role.

Schertz, H. H., Horn, K., Lee, M., & Mitchell, S. (2017). Supporting parents to help toddlers with autism risk make social connections. Young Exceptional Children20(1), 16-29. Link

A qualitative micro-analysis of interaction between parents and their toddlers with autism investigated how the instrumental or social nature of one partner’s actions influenced the other’s engagement. Results showed that the communicative functions of the initiating partners, whether child or parent, largely mirrored the other partner’s responding actions, suggesting the need to guide parents toward socially-focused interactions with their toddlers on the autism spectrum.

Schertz, H. H., Call-Cummings, M., Horn, K., Quest, K., & Law, R. S. (2018). Social and instrumental interaction between parents and their toddlers with autism: A qualitative analysis. Journal of Early Intervention40(1), 20-38. Link

A randomized controlled trial examined JAML’s effects on the positive social behavior of toddlers with autism toward their parents and mediating effect on parents following child lead. The results showed a pre-post gains in child social behavior toward parents, on parents following the child’s lead for JAML recipients and a positive correlation on the two outcomes.

Baggett, K. M., Barger, B., Schertz, H. H., & Odom, S. L. (2018, May). Effects of a parent mediated intervention on parent facilitators and positive social behavior of toddlers with autism: A randomized controlled trial. In International Society for Autism Research, Abstract book (pp.24). Link

This study examined differences between intervention and control conditions in parents’ use of mediated learning principles in interaction with their toddlers with autism. Improvements favoring experimental group participants were found, indicating that the JAML intervention enhanced parent learning of mediated learning principles and transactional social orienting in parent-child interactions.

Liu, X. & Schertz, H. H. (2019). Family capacity-building through parent-mediated intervention for toddlers with autism.  In International Society for Autism Research Abstract Book (pp. 931-932). Link

Parent perspectives on intervention components of the JAML intervention were qualitatively analyzed and reported. Considerable parent satisfaction with their intervention experience was reported, particularly related to facilitated video reflection activities designed to promote their active engagement in the learning process and the supportive professional-parent relationship. Exceptions for individuals were also described.

Amsbary, J., Able, H., Schertz, H. Odom, S. L. (2019). Caregivers’ voices regarding the use of parent-implemented interventions in their daily lives. Manuscript accepted with minor revisions.

Amsbary, J., Odom, S. L., Schertz, H. H., Baggett, K. M., & Able, H. (2017). Caregivers’ voices regarding implementation of a parent-mediated early intervention for toddlers with ASD. In International Society for Autism Research Abstract Book (pp. 683-684). Link

In-depth interviews were conducted with parents of toddlers with autism to examine their perceptions of their roles and competency to support toddlers’ social learning in both professional-delivered and parent-mediated early interventions. Four themes emerged that spoke to challenges and contributors to parent self-efficacy.

Schertz, H. H., Lester, J. N., Erden, E., Saffran, S., & Githens, P. (2019). Challenges and contributors to self-efficacy for parents of toddlers with autism. Autism (in submission)

Schertz, H. H. & Lester, J. N. (2019, April 8). Parent perspectives on facilitating social communication learning for their toddlers with autism. Paper presented at the 2019 annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association. Retrieved September 27, 2019, from the AERA Online Paper Repository.

Recent reports of intervention for toddlers with autism were examined for trends in intervention focus, intervention delivery processes, and alignment with recommended practices. Results showed that approximately 50% of interventions were implemented in natural environments; a similar percentage promoted active parent roles. Very few recent studies had a primary focus on social communication at the preverbal level, the core concern for toddlers with autism.

Schertz, H.H., Liu, X.Y., Lee, K.W., Sun, L. (2019). Recent trends in reported intervention practices for toddlers with autism: Intervention content and delivery processes. Early Childhood Research Quarterly. (under review)

Schertz, H. H., Lee, K., Liu, X., & Sun, L. (2019). Intervention content and process for toddlers with autism: Trends and current status. International Society for Autism Research Abstract Book (pp.300). Link

Relationships between social and instrumental functions of turn-taking and joint attention were investigated. The analysis revealed a positive relationship between social turn-taking and both initiating and responding to joint attention, but no significant relationship between instrumental turn-taking and either form of joint attention, suggesting the need to investigate whether promoting competency in turn-taking may support learning to initiate joint attention.

Lee, K.& Schertz, H. H. (2019). Analysis of the relationship between turn taking and joint attention for toddlers with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Advance online publication. Link

Lee, K., Safran, S., & Schertz, H. H. (2019). The relationship between turn taking and joint attention in interactions between caregivers and young children with autism. International Society for Autism Research Abstract Book (pp.890). Link