Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 48, Issue 6, pp 1932–1944 | Cite as

An Initial Psychometric Evaluation of the Joint Attention Protocol

  • Sallie W. NowellEmail author
  • Linda R. Watson
  • Richard A. Faldowski
  • Grace T. Baranek
Original Paper


The goal of this paper is to examine the psychometric properties of a live-coded behavioral measure of joint attention, the Attention-Following and Initiating Joint Attention Protocol (JA Protocol), in order to assist researchers and clinicians in identifying when this measure may meet their joint attention assessment needs. Data from 260 children with autism spectrum disorder, developmental delay, or typical development between the ages of 2 and 12 years were used to evaluate this measure using quality standards for measurement. Overall, the JA Protocol demonstrated good psychometric properties. Recommendations and limitations for use of this measure based on psychometric analysis results are reported.


Joint attention Psychometric Measurement Autism ASD 



This research was supported in part by grants from The National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (R01-HD42168, P30-HD003110) to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The authors would like to thank the families who participated in the Sensory Experiences Project. The authors also gratefully acknowledge the contributions of Rachel Rhyne in refining the Attention Following and Initiating Joint Attention Protocol manual and for her leadership in collecting test–retest data.

Author Contributions

SWN drafted the manuscript and analysed the data. LRW was a co-investigator for the parent study, led data collection for both of the JA Protocol samples, contributed to writing the introduction, methods, and conclusion sections, and edited the manuscript. RAF co-developed the data analysis plan, assisted SWN with conducting the analyses, contributed to writing the results section for the paper, and edited the manuscript. GTB was the principal investigator for the parent study, contributed to writing the introduction and conclusion sections, and edited the manuscript.


This research was supported in part by grants from The National Institute for Child Health and Human Development. R01-HD42168 to Grace Baranek and P30-HD003110 to the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (current PI: Gabriel Dichter) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Dr. Watson and Dr. Baranek have intellectual property rights related to the JA Protocol as authors. Ms. Nowell and Dr. Faldowski declare no conflicts of interest. The authors declare they have no financial conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee 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

  • Sallie W. Nowell
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Linda R. Watson
    • 1
  • Richard A. Faldowski
    • 1
  • Grace T. Baranek
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Allied Health SciencesThe University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational TherapyThe University of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Division of Speech & Hearing SciencesThe University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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