TADPOLE - Toddlers with Autism; Developing Opportunities for Learning

This study is currently CLOSED to enrollment.

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of early intervention for children with ASD. Two specific questions are being asked: First, what type of intervention is more effective? Second, how many hours of intervention should children receive per week? Qualifying families will receive 12 months of intensive one-on-one intervention in their homes, ongoing parent training, and assessments for their toddlers. The intervention program children receive will be one of two well-established models,
administered for either 15 or 25 hours per week. All parents will receive coaching both at home and at the MIND Institute. In addition to standardized assessments during the 12 months of intervention, families will be asked to participate in a follow-up assessment one year later.

Criteria: Participants are 12-30-month-old children with ASD who live within 15 miles of the MIND Institute in Sacramento.

The Early Steps Study Follow-Up

This study is currently open to enrollment.

The Early Steps Follow-Up Study is following children who previously participated in a  study of intensive intervention for very young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The primary goals of this study are to understand long-term outcomes for children with ASD who received early intervention and to compare these children to children without ASD in terms of their language, cognitive, and social abilities. The study involves one visit to MIND Institute, during which children participate in a
comprehensive battery of tests and parents complete questionnaires and interviews.

Criteria: Children who previously participated in the Early Steps Study and children 6-7 years of age without a diagnosis of ASD.

Contact: Marykate Miller at mkemiller@ucdavis.edu or (916) 703-0486

Community ESDM: Adapting an Evidence-based Practice for children At-Risk for Autism for Diverse Early Intervention Service Systems

Investigators: Drs. Sally Rogers & Aubyn Stahmer

This project uses an innovative implementation science model to adapt the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) to make it usable in public early intervention programs that focus on parent coaching and interdisciplinary support for toddlers at risk for ASD and their families. Our goal is to increase help for diverse families and children in low resource, low income areas.  ESDM is uniquely appropriate for this because of its combination of developmental and behavioral strategies, defined and manualized developmental curriculum and teaching practices, existing fidelity of implementation method, interdisciplinary orientation, and family focus. Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) is a comprehensive, empirically tested intervention supported by the principles of developmental psychology and applied behavior analysis. ESDM is delivered within play-based, relationship-focused routines. As a first step, we want to test possible modifications to ESDM by systematically delivering each component of the parent intervention and looking at child and parent learning. We are doing this research because we want to be sure the adapted ESDM works for Part C community systems and is easy for parents to learn to use with their children at home.

Criteria for Child and Parent Participants: Child and parent dyads with children at-risk for ASD ages 12-30 months at intake.

This study is currently CLOSED to enrollment.


The Autism Intervention Research Network on Behavioral Health (AIR-B) is a network of researchers seeking to advance evidence-based behavioral treatments for children with autism spectrum disorders, particularly those in underserved and minority communities. Our current project is looking at ways that can help parents whose children have ASD living in low-resource communities access care and also help participate more success throughout their children’s schooling. We are now conducting pilot testing of our interventions.

Criteria: Parents of children with ASD ages 2-8 who received their first diagnosis within the last two years OR parents of children with ASD who transitioned from preschool to kindergarten, elementary to middle school or middle school to high school this school year.

Contact: Amber Fitzgerald at (916) 703-0338 or afitzgerald@ucdavis.edu

Study will be enrolling in fall 2017


Schools and mental health programs are faced with the challenge of serving growing numbers of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). With the annual cost of ASD in the U.S. estimated to be $236 billion, developing and testing effective ways to scale up use of evidence-based treatments for ASD is critical.



To improve provider training in evidence based treatments. Two coordinated studies will test ways to support providers in their learning and delivery of ASD treatments. Study #1 will test the TEAMS model with An Individualized Mental Health Intervention for ASD (AIM HI) in publicly-funded outpatient and school-based mental health services. Study #2 will test TEAMS with Classroom Pivotal Response Teaching (CPRT) in classrooms.  The TEAMS model includes – TEAMS Leadership Institute (TLI) and TEAMS Individualized Provider Strategy for training (TIPS). Both studies will be conducted in San Diego, Sacramento, and Los Angeles counties.



Mental health programs and school districts are invited to participate in this voluntary study and will be randomized to receive different components of TEAMS. Leaders and Providers (mental health therapists or teachers) from participating districts/programs can participate; all participating providers will receive free training and coaching/consultation in AIM HI or CPRT over 6-10 months.


CONTACT: teams-study@ucsd.edu


Other Opportunities

Throughout the year, the Collaborative START Lab occasionally has opportunities for local families (generally with children under the age of 5) to participate in program activities including staff, student, and community trainings and workshops.  Please contact us if you would like information about upcoming events or would like to be placed on a list of interested families.


Contact: Marykate Miller at (916) 703-0486 or mkemiller@ucdavis.edu.