Autism Speaks selects Emory/ Marcus JAMA publication as one of top 10 research papers of 2015

Woodruff Health Sciences Center | Feb. 2, 2016

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Holly Korschun
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hkorsch@emory.edu

Lawrence Scahill and Karen Bearss describe the results of a multi-site study sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

The advocacy organization Autism Speaks has selected a scientific publication by Emory School of Medicine and Marcus Autism Center researchers as one of the top 10 autism research papers of 2015.

Published in the April 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, the study found parent training was more effective in reducing serious disruptive behavior than 24 weeks of parent education.

The article was titled: "Effect of parent training vs. parent education on behavioral problems in children with autism spectrum disorder."

Each year Autism Speaks science staff and advisers review the studies that most powerfully advance understanding and treatment of autism.

The multi-site Emory and Marcus study, sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), found that young children with autism spectrum disorder and serious behavioral problems responded positively to a 24-week structured parent training. The benefits of parent training endured for up to six months post intervention.

"This was the largest randomized trial of any behavioral intervention in children with autism spectrum disorder, and it showed that parent training works," notes Lawrence Scahill, MSN, PhD, professor of pediatrics at Marcus and Emory School of Medicine, who directed the study.

Parent training provided parents with specific strategies on how to manage serious behavioral problems such as tantrums, aggression, self-injury and noncompliance in children with autism spectrum disorder. Parent education offered useful information on autism – but did not provide guidance on how to manage serious behavioral problems.

Lead author Karen Bearss, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics at Marcus Autism Center and Emory School of Medicine remarked, "It’s striking that children in both groups improved, but on measures of disruptive and noncompliant behavior, parent training was clearly better."

Reference:

Effect of parent training vs. parent education on behavioral problems in children with autism spectrum disorder:  A randomized clinical trial. Bearss K, Johnson C, Smith T, Lecavalier L, et al. JAMA 2015; 313: