Autism Spectrum Disorders Institute


Autism Spectrum Disorders Research

Overview

Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) often do not develop language in the same way as other children. In fact, children with ASDs experience delays in all forms of communication, both verbal and nonverbal. Without specific and intensive instruction, many of these children would not learn to communicate basic needs. Instruction in communication skills is essential, and research in this area of need is a major aim of MCPER.

Links

For examples of recent research regarding communication skills, follow these links:

Overview

Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) experience substantial delays in the development of social skills. Examples of such skills include initiating interactions with others, attending to items or events with others (joint attention), taking turns, feeling empathy, and being polite. Deficits in social skills may further exacerbate the social, emotional, and cognitive development of children with ASDs. Despite this known risk, few well-established, research-based practices exist for improving the social skills of children with ASDs. Current MCPER research targets the development and evaluation of social skills interventions.

Links

For examples of recent research regarding social skills conducted at MCPER, follow these links:

Overview

Play is widely acknowledged to be an integral part of human development, and a large percentage of typically developing children’s time is spent engaged in play. As children develop, play serves increasingly more complex and vital functions. For example, play has been linked to the development of communication skills, cognition, and social and emotional interactions. Children with ASDs often experience substantial delays in the development of appropriate play skills. These delays can further exacerbate the social and communication deficits experienced by children with autism. The development of appropriate play skills is therefore an important target for early intervention with this population.

Links

MCPER is currently conducting research aimed at developing and evaluating methods for increasing the play skills of children with ASDs. For an example of recent research regarding play skills conducted at MCPER, follow this link:

Overview

Common types of challenging behavior include aggression, self-injury, property destruction, tantrums, and other antisocial behaviors. As many as 40% of individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) engage in challenging behavior, which is two to three times greater than children without developmental disabilities. Challenging behavior makes education and community inclusion difficult. Interventions designed to reduce challenging behavior are vital to comprehensive treatment plans for children with ASDs.

Links

Challenging-behavior intervention research is an aim of MCPER. Follow the link below for recent a review concerning challenging behavior of students with ASDs.

Overview

Federal and state legislation requires that students with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) receive academic instruction that research has shown to be effective. MCPER aims to bring together experts in ASDs, mathematics education, and reading education to establish effective, research-based instructional strategies for children with ASDs.

Links

For examples of recent research regarding academic instruction for students with ASDs, follow these links: