Sequencing Methods for Autism: A Randomized Trial (SMART)


The Sequencing Methods for Autism: A Randomized Trial (SMART) project examines how caregivers can learn social communication strategies, behavior regulation strategies, or both sets of strategies to support autistic toddlers’ communication and behavior.


The purpose of the SMART project is to identify the best first-stage intervention straetgies for families with newly diagnosed autistic toddlers. We seek to understand not only whether supporting behavior regulation or social communication is the best first strategy, but also for whom and under what conditions are each intervention approach most effective.


A total of 140 participants are being recruited to participate in this parent-mediated intervention study. All participants are randomly assigned to receive coaching in one of two parent-mediated interventions: social communication or behavior regulation. Following the first 3 months of intervention, participants are rerandomized to receive the same intervention, the other intervention, or a higher dosage of the same intervention.


24- to 48-month-old toddlers with a confirmed autism diagnosis


The parents’ implementation of language facilitation strategies and behavior regulation strategies, the child’s social communication and behavior regulation, and the parents’ acceptability of the intervention and study procedures