Promoting Joint Attention in Toddlers with Autism: A Parent-Mediated Developmental Model
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- Schertz, H.H. & Odom, S.L. J Autism Dev Disord (2007) 37: 1562. doi:10.1007/s10803-006-0290-z
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Joint attention, a foundational nonverbal social-communicative milestone that fails to develop naturally in autism, was promoted for three toddlers with early-identified autism through a parent-mediated, developmentally grounded, researcher-guided intervention model. A multiple baseline design compared child performance across four phases of intervention: focusing on faces, turn-taking, responding to joint attention, and initiating joint attention. All toddlers improved performance and two showed repeated engagement in joint attention, supporting the effectiveness of developmentally appropriate methods that build on the parent–child relationship. A complementary qualitative analysis explored family challenges, parent resilience, and variables that may have influenced outcomes. Intervention models appropriate for toddlers with autism are needed as improved early identification efforts bring younger children into early intervention services.