Brief Report: Caregiver Strategy Implementation—Advancing Spoken Communication in Children Who are Minimally Verbal
Research has demonstrated that caregivers’ use of intervention strategies can support their children’s social engagement and communication. However, it is not clear to what degree caregivers must master the strategies to effectively support gains in social communication, specifically, core challenges such as joint attention language (comments). Twenty-two minimally verbal school-age children with autism received a social communication intervention with caregiver coaching. Through 10 min caregiver–child play interactions at eight time points, significant increase were found in children’s spontaneous language. Further, children’s spontaneous language was associated with caregivers’ implementation. Minimum benchmarks for caregivers’ total intervention implementation are discussed.
KeywordsCaregivers Social communication Intervention Minimally verbal School-age JASPER
We would like to acknowledge funding for the study provided by Autism Speaks (PI Kasari: #5666), Characterizing Cognition in Nonverbal Individuals with Autism. In addition, the first author received a Dennis Weatherstone Pre-Doctoral Fellowship from Autism Speaks (#7036) as well a Doctoral Foreign Study Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Thank you to the children and families who participated in this study, the interventionists, and to Alison Holbrook for assisting with coding and transcription.
SYS drafted the manuscript and conceived of the study; WS performed the statistical analyses and provided edits to the manuscript; CK was the principal investigator of the larger RCT, participated in the development of the current study, and provided edits to the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
Authors Shire, Shih, and Kasari have no conflicts of interest to declare.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional review committee (UCLA) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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