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Daily Ratings of ASD Symptoms With Digital Media Devices: An Initial Validity Study

Los Angeles
State/Province Full: 
United States

Having appropriate outcome measures that capture clinical change in children's behavior is one of the challenges in developing clinical trials in ASD. This project addresses Autism Speaks’ core mission by investigating a novel assessment technique that could help overcome barriers to evaluating the efficacy of ASD treatments in clinical trials. The study evaluates the validity and treatment sensitivity of an individualized outcome measure, the Youth Top Problems, adapted for ASD clinical trials using digital media devices equipped with AutismTrack software. Individualized measurement of treatment outcome offers the possibility of increased precision of measurement and reduced placebo effects. Enhancing the precision of measurement may improve the ability to detect meaningful treatment effects in randomized controlled trials for people with autism to better identify efficacious interventions. To date, individualized measurement approaches have rarely been used in autism randomized, controlled trials. However, problems with small effect sizes and inconsistent findings in autism treatment research may be partially overcome with such measures. Fifty-five children with high-functioning ASD (ages 7 to 11) and their parents will participate. The YTP approach identifies 3 target symptoms from the parent’s point of view, rated daily. These 3 priority symptoms will be identified by parents, in their own words, to create personalized YTP items, following the completion of an autism diagnostic interview. Before and after treatment, parents will complete YTP ratings for 7 consecutive days at home using AutismTrack software on an iPhone or iPod Touch. Parents will wear wireless video cameras for daily videotaping of children’s behaviors. The recordings will then be rated by an unbiased rater as a benchmark for parent ratings.