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Using Technology to Expand and Enhance Applied Behavioral Analysis Programs for Children with Autism in Military Families

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Annual rept. 1 Jul 2013 - 30 Jun 2014

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Autism spectrum disorders ASDs are disorders that affect as many 1 in 88 children. Without intensive treatment, the long-term outcomes for children with an ASD remain bleak and are associated with a high divorce rate among parents. Interventions based on applied behavior analysis are well documented, but unfortunately these services are often not available to military-dependent children because of the lack of appropriately training individuals. This project will demonstrate how web-based technologies can increase the availability of this effective treatment. The third year of the award involved the continued recruitment of families with a child with an ASD to evaluate the technology-enhanced parent-training Experiment 1 and technology-enhanced tutor-training Experiment 2 curricula as well as the technology-enhanced early-intervention services in family s homes Experiment 3. The preliminary results for the tutor-training curriculum showed robust and statistically significant improvements in performance, and the training was rated as highly socially acceptable. These data were recently published Fisher, Luczynski, Hood, Lesser, Machado, Piazza, 2014. Similar outcomes have been obtained for the participants that completed the parent-training curriculum. We have completed four test-control dyads of children for the early-intervention evaluation, and the initial results showed marked increases in acquired skills for children in the technology-enhanced training group compared to the waitlist-control group for two of four dyads. We are continuing to make progress toward recruiting and enrolling families in the parent-training and early-intervention experiments.

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  • Psychology

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