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Autism Intervention Research Network on Behavioral Health (AIR-B Network)

Project profile

Institution: University of California, Los Angeles
Principal Investigator: Connie Kasari
Project Number: UT3MC39436
Project Date: 09-01-2020

Age Group(s)

  • Early Childhood (3-5 years)
  • Middle Childhood (6-11 years)


A growing number of autism-specific interventions have evidence to support them. Using community-partnered participatory research (CPPR) approaches the Autism Intervention Network for Behavioral Health (AIRB) researchers have set the standard for developing implementing and evaluating interventions in under-resourced communities including impoverished schools and communities and with families from traditionally disenfranchised groups. Our AIRB sites have established a successful research network devoted to addressing core and associated autism symptoms. Success has been measured in parents' and providers' ability to implement interventions successfully as well as improved child outcomes. Despite these successes achieving sustained change is challenging. If we are to have a lasting impact autism intervention research must focus on broadening access expanding reach and facilitating widespread availability of services in the community.

Goals and objectives:

The primary goal of this competing continuation is to develop and evaluate a multi-phase implementation and sustainment strategy to support evidence-based practice use across different ASD interventions settings and ages. Objectives 1-2: Expand our existing national platform of academic-community partnerships to improve the reach of effective interventions for children withASDand their families. Objectives 3-4: Recruit participants from diverse racial/ethnic rural and socioeconomic groups. Objectives 5-7: Conduct studies in under-resourced settings test a multi-phase implementation strategy using rigorous scientific methods and deliver training for evidence-based interventions using remote delivery methods. Objectives 8-9: Develop and test tools and resource guidelines to promote access to and sustainability of effective interventions. Objectives 10-11: Expand mentoring of early investigators and investigators new to the field. Objectives 12-14: Widely disseminate interventions tools and guidelines via presentations publications community presence dedicated websites and social media outlets. Objectives 15-17: Disseminate research findings locally and nationally through workgroups and annual conferences; leverage Network capacity to obtain additional extramural funding.

Proposed activities and target populations:

Using CPPR and implementation science we will expand partnerships with local schools community health centers and community-based organizations to identify and respond to stakeholder priorities and test an implementation strategy to expand the independent sustained use of effective evidence-based interventions by publicly-funded programs. We will employ multi-site clinical trials using innovative remote training methods to reach underserved participants in urban and rural settings. We will develop validate and disseminate approaches to engage families and community stakeholders and produce guidelines for further dissemination of the protocols.


To extend our previous success as an AIRB network we rely on our established infrastructure and existing community partnerships. We will add additional sites with complementary expertise and Pis who have productive collaborations around our proposed interventions. The team comprises leaders in implementation science treatment and tool development which we will capitalize on to ameliorate disparities in communities where disenfranchised groups are overrepresented.


Development of tools resource guidelines manualized interventions and technology for supporting community engagement of under-represented families in evidence-based interventions across the life span.


We will employ quantitative and qualitative implementation science methods to test the effectiveness reach and sustainment of evidence based interventions in under-resourced community settings.


Castell�n FA, Sturm A, Kasari C. Dual Identification: Trajectories to English Proficiency for English Learners with Autism Spectrum Disorder [published online ahead of print, 2023 May 12].�J Autism Dev Disord. 2023;10.1007/s10803-023-05994-9. doi:10.1007/s10803-023-05994-9 DOI: May 2023 37171765

Ahlers K, Hugh ML, Tagavi D, Eayrs C, Hernandez AM, Ho T, Locke J. "On an island by myself": implications for the inclusion of autistic students in self-contained classrooms in public elementary schools. Front Psychiatry. 2023 Sep 26;14:1241892. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2023.1241892. PMID: 37829762; PMCID: PMC10566509. September 2023

Kim SA, Kasari C. Brief Report: Longitudinal Trajectory of Working Memory in School-Aged Children on the Autism Spectrum: Period of High Plasticity and "Late Bloomers". J Autism Dev Disord. 2023 Apr 6. doi: 10.1007/s10803-023-05960-5. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37022582. April 2023

Chang YC, Shire S, Shih W, Kasari C. Developmental Play Skills as Outcomes of Early Intervention. J Autism Dev Disord. 2023 Oct 5. doi: 10.1007/s10803-023-06147-8. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37796387. October 2023

Frake E, Dean M, Huynh LN, Iadarola S, Kasari C. Earning Your Way into General Education: Perceptions about Autism Influence Classroom Placement.�Education Sciences. 2023; 13(10):1050. October 2023

Luelmo P, Kasari C; Fiesta Educativa, Inc. Randomized pilot study of a special education advocacy program for Latinx/minority parents of children with autism spectrum disorder. Autism. 2021;25(6):1809-1815. doi:10.1177/1362361321998561 April 2021

Kasari C, Shire S, Shih W, Almirall D. Getting SMART about social skills interventions for students with ASD in inclusive classrooms. Except Child. Published online April 24, 2021. doi:10.1177/00144029211007148 April 2021

Sturm A, Williams J, Kasari C. Who gains and who loses? Sociodemographic disparities in access to special education services among autistic students. Autism Res. 2021;14(8):1621-1632. doi:10.1002/aur.2517 April 2021

Hassrick EM, Shih W, Nuske HJ, et al. Disrupted care continuity: testing associations between social networks and transition success for children with autism. Soc Sci. 2021;10(7):247. doi:10.3390/socsci10070247 June 2021

Ahlers KP, Ayers KB, Iadarola S, Hughes RB, Lee HS, Williamson HJ. Adapting participatory action research to include individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Dev Disabil Network J. 2021;1(2):5. doi:10.26077/ec55-409c 2021

Nuske HJ, Shih WI, Sparapani N, et al. Self-regulation predicts companionship in children with autism. International Journal of Developmental Disabilities. 2021;1-11. doi:10.1080/20473869.2021.1917109 April 2021

Hassrick EM, Shih W, Nuske HJ, et al. Disrupted care continuity: testing associations between social networks and transition success for children with autism. Soc Sci. 2021;10(7):247. doi:10.3390/socsci10070247 June 2021

Smith, JM, Kataoka SH, Segovia FR, et al. Communities speak up: Supporting the K-12 school transitions of students with autism. Multiple Voices for Ethnically Diverse Exceptional Learners. 2021;21(1):55-77. doi:10.5555/2158-396x-21.1.55 September 2021

Gulsrud A, Lee H, Hassrick E, et al. It�s who you know: Caregiver social networks predict service use among under-resourced children with autism.�Res Autism Spectr Disord. 2021;88:101843. doi:10.1016/j.rasd.2021.101843 October 2021

Locke J, Hassrick EM, Stahmer AC, et al. Using Novel Implementation Tools for Evidence-based Intervention Delivery (UNITED) across public service systems for three evidence-based autism interventions in under-resourced communities: study protocol. BMC Psychiatry. 2022;22(1):478. Published 2022 Jul 16. doi:10.1186/s12888-022-04105-9 PMID:35842614 DOI:10.1186/s12888-022-04105-9 July 2022 35842614

Kim SA, Baczewski L, Pizzano M, Kasari C, Sturm A. Discrimination and Harassment Experiences of Autistic College Students and Their Neurotypical Peers: Risk and Protective Factors [published online ahead of print, 2022 Sep 14]. J Autism Dev Disord. 2022;10.1007/s10803-022-05729-2. doi:10.1007/s10803-022-05729-2 PMID:36103077 DOI:doi:10.1007/s10803-022-05729-2 September 2022 36103077

Chang, Y. C., & Dean, M. (2022). Friendship interventions and measurements in children with ASD: A systematic review. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 93, 101947. DOI:10.1016/j.rasd.2022.101947 May 2022

Kim SA, Kasari C. Working memory of school-aged children on the autism spectrum: Predictors for longitudinal growth. Autism. 2023 Apr 21:13623613231165599. doi: 10.1177/13623613231165599. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37086016. DOI: April 2023 37086016

Libster N, Knox A, Engin S, Geschwind D, Parish-Morris J, Kasari C. Sex differences in friendships and loneliness in autistic and non-autistic children across development. Mol Autism. 2023 Feb 24;14(1):9. doi: 10.1186/s13229-023-00542-9. PMID: 36829214; PMCID: PMC9960478. DOI: February 2023 36829214

Han S, Lee HS, Kataoka S. "It's Taboo to Talk About It": Korean American Clergy Members' Views of Mental Health [published online ahead of print, 2023 Apr 12]. Psychiatr Serv. 2023;appips20220252. doi:10.1176/ DOI:doi: 10.1176/ April 2023 37042111

Dean M, Chang YC, Shih W, Orlich F, Kasari C. Social engagement and loneliness in school-age autistic girls and boys. Womens Health (Lond). 2023;19:17455057231170973. doi:10.1177/17455057231170973 DOI:doi: 10.1177/17455057231170973 January 2023 37129160

Libster N, Kasari C, Sturm A. Predictors of Sexual Victimization Among Autistic and Non-Autistic College Students. J Autism Dev Disord. 2023 Jul 22. doi: 10.1007/s10803-023-06064-w. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37480442. DOI:10.1007/s10803-023-06064-w July 2023 37480442