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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


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Job Opportunities
  • Lead Application Developer/Research Engineer: We are seeking a full-stack Application Developer to lead development of single-page web applications, as well as maintain, troubleshoot and improve applications already in production. Existing applications at JGCP include learning management systems, web apps that help manage and report child outcomes to guide teacher’s instructional decisions, and mobile apps to support parent-teacher communication and student self-management. As a member of JGCP’s Technology Innovation, Development & Research (TIDR) lab, the developer will gain experience across multiple research projects. Review of applications will begin Sept 18, 2018 and continue until position is filled. For more information and how to apply, click hereKU is an EO/AAE
  • Postdoctoral Researchers (Early Intervention): Juniper Gardens Children’s Project (JGCP) is recruiting 2 postdoctoral researchers interested in developing expertise in designing, implementing and disseminating research carried out while developing evidence-based practices with community partners focused on early intervention, early care, and early education settings. The postdoctoral position is a full-time (100% FTE), 2 years, research-dedicated fellowship. Postdoctoral researchers will learn and develop new advances in the prevention and intervention of learning and behavior problems in young children. For more information and to apply online, click hereKU is an EO/AAE
  • Student Hourly (Data Collectors): Juniper Gardens Children’s Project, a community-based research institute affiliated with the University of Kansas, is conducting a research program aimed at evaluating how a Practice Based Coaching model (Literacy 3D) can be used to enhance the literacy focus of early childhood (EC) teachers through data-driven decision making and strategies that boost children’s opportunities to respond in literacy activities. We are seeking 4-10 student hourly employees who will be responsible for data collection activities with preschool students and teachers, including administering literacy assessments to children, observing classroom instruction and interactions, and assisting in the preparation and delivery of data reports in the Kansas City Metro, as well as data management and entry at our offices in downtown Kansas City, KS. For more information and to apply online, click hereKU is an EO/AAE
  • Assistant/Associate Research Professor - Statistician: The KU Life Span Institute at Juniper Gardens is seeking to hire an Assistant or Associate Research Professor with statistical skills to work in a team environment on a range of educational and applied research projects. For more information and to apply, click here.  KU is an EO/AAE
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