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The U.S. Department of Education recently awarded researchers at the Institute for Autism Research (IAR) at Canisius an $880,431 grant.  The grant will fully fund a three-year study of the long-term beneficial impacts from an innovative school intervention for high-functioning children with autism spectrum disorder (HFASD) developed by the IAR research team.

Children with HFASD comprise nearly half of all children with ASD and, despite relative strengths in cognitive and language skills, exhibit chronic and pervasive social impairments and restricted and repetitive behaviors that severely interfere with daily functioning leading to long-term negative outcomes. These long-term negative outcomes have led researchers to suggest that existing school interventions for these students are ineffective.

Researchers at the IAR have effectively treated the clinical impairments and symptoms of children with HFASD in their comprehensive summer program (summerMAX) for more than a decade. In an effort to more effectively treat these children in school settings, the research team adapted the summer program into a school-based intervention (schoolMAX), which they tested in an earlier, large-scale randomized trial funded by the U. S. Department of Education.

Results from the school study found that students with HFASD who received schoolMAX demonstrated significantly better social understanding and social skills and fewer ASD symptoms following treatment compared to students with HFASD who received their typical-educational programming.  This latest grant from the Department of Education will enable researchers to examine the long-term beneficial impacts of the treatment.

Click here to learn more about the IAR and how it will use its latest grant from the Department of Education.

Submitted by: College Communications