Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 355–371

Use of a Direct Observational Measure in a Trial of Risperidone and Parent Training in Children with Pervasive Developmental Disorders


    • University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
    • Merck ProgramWestern Psychiatry Institute and Clinic
  • Cynthia R. Johnson
    • University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • Eric M. Butter
    • Ohio State University
  • Luc Lecavalier
    • Ohio State University
  • Lawrence Scahill
    • Emory University School of Medicine
  • Michael G. Aman
    • Ohio State University
  • Christopher J. McDougle
    • Harvard Medical School
  • L. Eugene Arnold
    • Ohio State University
  • Naomi B. Swiezy
    • Indiana University School of Medicine
  • Denis G. Sukhodolsky
    • Yale University
  • James A. Mulick
    • Ohio State University
  • Susan W. White
    • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • Karen Bearss
    • Emory University School of Medicine
  • Jill A. Hollway
    • Ohio State University
  • Kimberly A. Stigler
    • Indiana University School of Medicine
  • James Dziura
    • Emory University School of Medicine
  • Sunkyung Yu
    • University of Michigan Medical School
  • Kelley Sacco
    • Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
  • Benedetto Vitiello
    • National Institute of Mental Health

DOI: 10.1007/s10882-012-9316-y

Cite this article as:
Handen, B.L., Johnson, C.R., Butter, E.M. et al. J Dev Phys Disabil (2013) 25: 355. doi:10.1007/s10882-012-9316-y


A Structured Observational Analog Procedure (SOAP), an analogue measure of parent-child interactions, was used to assess treatment outcome in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and serious behavior problems. It served as a secondary outcome measure in a 24-week, randomized trial of risperidone (MED; N = 49) versus risperidone plus parent training (COMB; n = 75) (ages 4–13 years). At 24-weeks, there was 28 % reduction in child inappropriate behavior during a Demand Condition (p = .0002) and 12 % increase in compliance to parental requests (p = .004) for the two treatment conditions combined. Parents displayed 64 % greater use of positive reinforcement (p = .001) and fewer repeated requests for compliance (p < .0001). In the analysis of covariance (ANCOVA), COMB parents used significantly more positive reinforcement (p = .01) and fewer restrictive statements (p < .05) than MED parents. The SOAP is sensitive to change in child and parent behavior as a function of risperidone alone and in combination with PMT and can serve as a valuable complement to parent and clinician-based measures.


Autism spectrum disorderAutismObservational measuresBehavioral interventionsParent trainingClinical trials

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012