Preschool Deployment of Evidence-Based Social Communication Intervention: JASPER in the Classroom

Abstract

Few research-developed early intervention models have been deployed to and tested in real world preschool programs. In this study, teaching staff implemented a social communication modularized intervention, JASPER, in their daily program. Sixty-six preschool children with autism in twelve classrooms (12 teachers) were randomized to receive immediate JASPER training (IT) or were waitlisted (WL) for 3 months with a 1-month follow up. Measures of core deficits (initiations of joint engagement, joint attention gestures and language, play skills) and standardized cognitive measures were improved for IT over WL children. IT teachers achieved and maintained high fidelity. Teachers can implement evidence-based interventions with significant improvements in core deficits of their children with ASD.

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Acknowledgments

This study was funded by Autism Speaks Grant #7495 (PI: Kasari). We would like to thank the children and families who participated in the study as well as the dedicated teachers, paraprofessionals, and Los Angeles Unified School District for their participation and collaboration on this project. We would also like to thank the team of assessors and coders: Fahad Alnemary, Faisal Alnemary, Kathleen Berry, Michelle Dean, Charlotte DiStefano, Reina Factor, Elizabeth Fuller, Matthew Goodman, Hilary Gould, Clare Harrop, Alison Holbrook, Abbey Hye, Kelsey Johnson, Elizabeth Karp, Kiana Krolik, Jason Lee, Marcella Mattos, Caitlin McCracken, Marina Mladenovic, Jonathan Panganiban, Andrew Schlink, Alyssa Tan, Nicole Tu, and Marta Wirga.

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Correspondence to Ya-Chih Chang.

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Author Contributions

YC co-coordinated the study, coached the teachers and paraprofessionals, and drafted the manuscript. SS co-coordinated the study, coached the teachers and paraprofessionals, and drafted the manuscript; WS conducted the analyses for the study; CG was the liaison between the community and the university for the project; CK is the principal investigator of the interventional trial and assisted in the drafting of the manuscript.

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Appendices

Appendix 1

See Table 4.

Table 4 JASPER components

Appendix 2

See Table 5.

Table 5 Teacher-child play interaction

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Chang, YC., Shire, S.Y., Shih, W. et al. Preschool Deployment of Evidence-Based Social Communication Intervention: JASPER in the Classroom. J Autism Dev Disord 46, 2211–2223 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-016-2752-2

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Keywords

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • JASPER
  • Preschool
  • Teachers
  • Joint attention
  • Implementation