Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 48, Issue 4, pp 1228–1234 | Cite as

Brief Report: Caregiver Strategy Implementation—Advancing Spoken Communication in Children Who are Minimally Verbal

  • Stephanie Y. ShireEmail author
  • Wendy Shih
  • Connie Kasari
S.I. : Parenting Children with ASD


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.


Caregivers 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.

Author Contributions

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.


The data presented in this study was collected from participants from a larger intervention trial which was funded by Autism Speaks (PI: Kasari, Grant # 5666).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Authors Shire, Shih, and Kasari have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Ethical Approval

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

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephanie Y. Shire
    • 1
    Email author
  • Wendy Shih
    • 2
  • Connie Kasari
    • 2
  1. 1.Special Education and Clinical SciencesUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA
  2. 2.Center for Autism Research and TreatmentUniversity of California Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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