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A Multi-Site Clinical Randomized Trial of the Hanen More than Words Intervention

State/Province Full: 
United States

This study will also use a parent-based intervention, but is unique in that it brings together three members of the Autism-Speaks High Risk Baby Siblings Research Consortium. This group will investigate wither an established intervention, Hanen's More than Words program, is effective in toddlers who have been identified as “at risk” for later diagnosis of autism. The More than Words Program is group based and provides support, education and practical skills for parents of children at risk for autism spectrum disorders. Parents are taught to motivate the child to communicate, follow the child's lead, create structured, fun, and predictable games that provide opportunities to reward successful conversational turn-taking, and adjust the way they speak to make it easier for their children to understand their language. This intervention was selected based on theoretical and preliminary empirical evidence supporting its usefulness. Hanen's More than Words program is developmentally appropriate for use with families with a toddler, and sensitive to the needs of families. Although there is considerable variability in the services available across the regions from which participants will be drawn (Boston, Nashville, and Miami), the multi-site collaboration will support the usefulness of this program in a variety of environments in a standardized way and allow for more children to be enrolled in intervention trials at these sites. Hanen's More than Words Program is designed to complement one-on-one child therapy. The program builds on the premise that family factors, including parenting practices that enhance the child's linguistic competence may be important predictors of long-term outcomes for children with a variety of disabilities. The investigators will be looking at whether or not this intervention strategy improves outcome on child social communication, behavior problems, as well as parenting stress.