Strengthening Children's Lives Through Science and Community Engagement

Return to Research Categories

Advanced autism research to improve practice and outcomes - Social and communication interventions​ PI Duration Sponsor
Joint Attention Mediated Learning Intervention for Toddlers with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Their Families

Baggett, K.


University of Indiana; U.S. Department of Education- IES

Purpose: The prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) has grown dramatically in recent years, with advances in early identification now resulting in an influx of toddlers to the early intervention system. Although early intervention providers are required to implement evidence-based practices for this population, few models are available that target social communication, the core difficulty in ASD, at the preverbal stage when neurological development is most malleable. The proposed project directly addresses this need through an efficacy study of Joint Attention Mediated Learning (JAML), an intervention practice for toddlers with ASD that directly targets foundational preverbal social communication competencies from within the parent-child relationship at a critical juncture (by 30 months of age). Specifically, this study will determine the efficacy of JAML on the early preverbal and verbal social communication development of toddlers with ASD and the self-efficacy of their caregivers, assess factors that mediate and moderate intervention effects, and address the feasibility and acceptability of JAML.

Project Activities: Researchers will conduct a randomized controlled trial that compares the JAML intervention to a business-as-usual condition. The research team will recruit 126 toddlers, aged 30 months or younger, with ASD. Assessments will be conducted prior to the intervention (pre-test), post-intervention (post-test), and 6 months after the post-test to measure the sustainability of any intervention effects.


We are recruiting families of toddlers under age 31 months who may have autism and who are having difficulty communicating and interacting with others. Our early intervention program has been used in other research, and now we would like to explore whether it will prove to be effective with a larger number of families.  The intervention is designed to help toddlers engage socially through parent-child interaction and to minimize possible future difficulties.  If you agree to participate and your child is eligible, you will be randomly assigned (by chance) to one of two groups and will receive intervention materials either gradually in weekly sessions (intervention group) or at the end of a 32-week period (control group).  Both groups will receive guidance on use of the intervention materials.
If you would like more information or would like to explore the next step in participating, please call Stacia Mitchell at 913-321-3143 or email


What's New
Job Opportunities
  • Assistant Researcher: We are seeking a part-time to full-time Assistant Researcher for a research project that focuses on developing and implementing a coaching model for an elementary classroom management intervention. Approximately 4 school districts and 20 elementary schools with students at risk for school failure will participate in the project and contribute to the development of the program. For more information and to apply, go hereKU is an EO/AAE.
  • Graduate Research Assistant: We are seeking 1-3 graduate research assistant(s) with studies or background in applied behavioral science, special education, psychology, school psychology or related field. The primary purpose of this project is to support high-needs elementary students with the CW-FIT Program (a classroom management intervention) while building for scale and sustainability by developing a district coaching model. For more information and to apply, go hereKU is an EO/AAE.
  • Postdoctoral Researcher: The Postdoctoral Program at the Juniper Gardens Children’s Project (JGCP) seeks a postdoctoral researcher. The purpose of the proposed project is to provide a Quantitative Postdoctoral Researcher with experience that will enable them to conduct high quality behavioral, educational, and special education research in childhood settings. The goal of the training program is to prepare quantitative researchers with the collaborative and methodological skills necessary to conduct next generation of research. For more information and to apply go hereKU is an EO/AAE.
  • Postdocotral Researcher: The Postdoctoral Research Program at the Juniper Gardens Children’s Project (JGCP) is recruiting two postdoctoral researchers interested in developing expertise in carrying out community-engaged research to develop and implement evidence-based practices focused on early intervention, early care, and early education settings. The postdoctoral position is a full-time (100% FTE), 2 years, research-dedicated fellowship.  For more information and to apply, go hereKU is an EO/AAE.
Training Opportunities
  • We will be offering a TPITOS certification training workshop in Kansas City, Kansas at the Juniper Gardens Children’s Project on January 30-31, 2020.​ The TPITOS™ is a tool for ensuring that infant–toddler teachers are implementing the Pyramid Model for Promoting Social Emotional Competence in Infants and Young Children with fidelity. Email for more information or register for the workshop by clicking the link.
Latest News
RT @UnivOfKansas : Our five love languages: ❤️ Words of affirmation: Rock Chalk! 💙 Acts of service: I'll carry you up 14th Street. ❤️ Receiv…