This project is a subcontract through Texas State University at San Marcos (PI, Vanegas).

This project will enhance the professional capacity for screening of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and implement and assess the efficacy of a parent education and coaching intervention for low resource families of children with developmental delay.

The ASD Screening and Parent Engagement (ASPEN) intervention will be a culturally and linguistically-informed intervention that will be acceptable, feasible, and efficacious in low-resource communities. The expected products of this intervention are training and outreach materials for community agencies related to ASD screening; manuals for the ASPEN intervention for clinicians and peer leaders to deliver the ASPEN intervention and for parents who receive the intervention, and a resource and referral guide for educational and health-care services and supports.

The goal of this project is to examine the efficacy of the ASPEN intervention, a culturally-informed parent-mediated intervention (PMI) program when delivered to caregivers and children at risk for ASD who reside in low-resource households.

This project will assemble an advisory group comprised of community and parent leaders to inform the intervention development and implementation. This project will implement a randomized control trial to test a PMI program delivered to families with young children at risk for ASD in low-resource communities and improve developmental outcomes in young children at risk for ASD. The project will also work to improve parenting practices among caregivers of children at risk for ASD. The project will collect baseline, and two follow-up assessments.

Children at risk for ASD who participate in the intervention will exhibit significant gains in social communication and reduction in challenging behavior. Caregivers who receive the intervention will exhibit significant gains in knowledge and skills related to their child’s development and report significant reductions in parenting stress. This study will advance intervention research with families from low-resource community in the literature on autism and neurodevelopmental disabilities.

The contents of this project were developed the under a grant from the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living (ACL), National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) Grant #90IFST19000035. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.