Office of Epidemiology and Research, Division of Research

Advancing Applied MCH Research

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

Project Number: UA3MC11055
Grantee: UCLA
Department/Center: Education
Project Date: 9/1/2008
Principal Investigator: Connie Kasari

Final Report



  • Toddlerhood (13-35 months)
  • Early Childhood (3-5 years)
  • Middle Childhood (6-11 years)
  • Adolescence (12-18 years)


Problem: Proven-efficacious autism interventions are complicated to deliver, intensive and expensive. As a result, community practice rarely mirrors the evidence base for autism intervention. This research-to-practice gap reflects a fundamental challenge to traditional university-based intervention research, which rarely examines the effectiveness (as opposed to efficacy) of interventions, and even less commonly examines strategies to implement interventions in community settings so that they sustain. Challenges to implementation are exacerbated among in poor school districts; these districts, which provide the bulk of intervention to children with autism, rarely have the capacity to deliver proven-efficacious interventions as they were designed. Our AIR-B network has developed and tested interventions to address autism's core symptoms. A central part of our mission is to broaden the diversity of research contexts to assess generalizability of our interventions. We now move from testing interventions to partnering with a diverse array of school districts and other community settings to develop and test strategies to ensure that these interventions are effectively implemented in community settings. Goals/Objectives: To identify barriers and to advance strategies for the deployment of evidence-based interventions for core features of autism effectively and sustainably in under-resourced schools and communities with highly diverse and underserved children. Methodology: Using innovative techniques from implementation science and community-based participatory research, we will establish partnerships with local schools, involve community members (administration, teachers, support staff, parents) in identifying and responding to priorities, and develop manualized protocols for deployment and training. We will then deploy the selected evidence-based interventions and evaluate the effects of the deployment strategies on community practices and child outcomes. In other Network activities, we will study the use of efficacious interventions with under-served children with ASD through analysis of our archived AIR-B I data, as well as through new initiatives driven by our collaborating partners. Coordination: In this competing continuation of AIR-B we continue our original AIR-B collaborations with: University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) as the lead site, University of Michigan; University of Washington; Florida State University; and Kennedy Krieger Institute. We also propose two new partners, the University of Pennsylvania and University of Rochester. The PIs at these sites form a team that is at the forefront in the areas of autism screening, identification, and intervention development and implementation research. Additionally, we will work closely with other networks, including LEND, DBP, AIR-P, and ATN, many already connected with our team of collaborating research entities. Evaluation: Quantitative and qualitative implementation science methods will be employed to test the effectiveness and sustainability of evidence based practices in community settings. Additional studies will employ other methodologies to validate tools, test efficacy and barriers to access in archived AIR-B data (based on randomized controlled trials) as well as new data collection in pilot projects to be determined. Annotation: The proposed Network will provide a model for moving evidence-based psychosocial interventions for children with autism from research to under-resourced practice settings. If successful, the Network will increase the use of proven-effective interventions for children with autism, improving outcomes for these children, and increase inclusion of traditionally under-represented research participants.


Listed is descending order by year published.

Azad GF, Locke J, Kasari C, Mandell DS. Race, disability, and grade: social relationships in children with autism spectrum disorders. Autism. 2017. Jan;21(1):92-99.

Locke J, Kang-Yi CD, Pellecchia M, Marcus S, Hadley T, Mandell DS. Ethnic disparities in school-based behavioral health service use for children with psychiatric disorders. J Sch Health. 2017;87(1):47-54.

Locke J, Williams J, Shih W, Kasari C. Characteristics of socially successful elementary school-aged children with autism. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2017 Jan;58(1):94-102.

Anderson A, Locke J, Kretzmann M, Kasari C, AIR-B Network. Social network analysis of children with autism spectrum disorder: Predictors of fragmentation and connectivity in elementary school classrooms. Autism. 2016;20(6):700-709.

Carr T, Shih W, Lawton K, et al. The relationship between treatment attendance, adherence, and outcome in a caregiver-mediated intervention for low-resourced families of young children with autism spectrum disorder. Autism. 2016 Aug;20(6):643-652.

Dean M, Harwood R, Kasari C. The art of camouflage: Gender differences in the social behaviors of girls and boys with autism spectrum disorder. Autism. 2016 Nov 29. pii: 1362361316671845.

Grzadzinski R, Carr T, Colombi C, et al. Measuring changes in social communication behaviors: preliminary development of the Brief Observation of Social Communication Change (BOSCC). J Autism Dev Disord. 2016;46(7):2464-2479.

Iadarola S, Oakes LA, Shih W, Dean M, Smith T, Orlich F. Relationship among anxiety, depression, and family impact in adolescents with autism spectrum disorder and average-range IQ. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities. 2016.

Kasari C, Dean M, Kretzmann M, Shih W, Orlich F, Whitney R, Landa R, Lord C, King B. Children with autism spectrum disorder and social skills groups at school: a randomized trial comparing intervention approach and peer composition. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2016 Feb;57(2):171-179.

Shih W, Patterson SY, Kasari C. Developing an adaptive treatment strategy for peer-related social skills for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol. 2016;45(4):469-479.

Esler AN, Bal VH, Guthrie W, Wetherby A, Ellis Weismer S, Lord C. The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Toddler Module: Standardized Severity Scores. J Autism Dev Disord. 2015;45(9):2704-2720.

Freeman SFN, Gulsrud A, Kasari C. Brief report: linking early joint attention and play abilities to later reports of friendships for children with ASD. J Autism Dev Disord. 2015;45(7):2259-2266.

Harrop C, Gulsrud A, Kasari C. Does gender moderate core deficits in ASD? An investigation into restricted and repetitive behaviors in girls and boys with ASD. J Autism Dev Disord. 2015;45(11):3644-3655.

Harrop C, Shire S, Gulsrud A, Chang YC. Does gender influence core deficits in ASD? An investigation into social-communication and play of girls and boys with ASD. J Autism Dev Disord. 2015 Mar;45(3):766-777.

Iadarola S, Hetherington S, Clinton C, et al. Services for children with autism spectrum disorder in three, large urban school districts: perspectives of parents and educators. Autism. 2015;19(6):694-703.

Jones RM, Risi S, Wexler D, et al. How interview questions are placed in time influences caregiver description of social communication symptoms on the ADI-R. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2015;56(5):577-585.

Kretzmann M, Shih W, Kasari C. Improving peer engagement of children with autism on the school playground: a randomized controlled trial. Behav Ther. 2015;46(1):20-28.

Locke J, Olsen A, Wideman R, et al. A tangled web: the challenges of implementing an evidence-based social engagement intervention for children with autism in urban public school settings. Behav Ther. 2015;46(1):54-67.

Locke J, Shih W, Kretzmann M, Kasari C. Examining playground engagement between elementary school children with and without autism spectrum disorder. Autism. 2016 Aug;20(6):653-662.

Bacon EC, Dufek S, Schreibman L, Stahmer AC, Pierce K, Courchesne E. Measuring outcome in an early intervention program for toddlers with autism spectrum disorder: use of a curriculum-based assessment. Autism Res Treat. 2014;2014:964704.

Dean M, Kasari C, Shih W, et al. The peer relationships of girls with ASD at school: comparison to boys and girls with and without ASD. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2014 Nov;55(11):1218-1225.

Grzadzinski RL, Luyster R, Gunn-Spencer A, Lord C. Separation and reunion behaviors of young children with autism spectrum disorders toward mothers and fathers. Autism, 2014;18(2),85-96.

Hus V, Gotham K, Lord C. Standardizing ADOS domain scores: separating severity of social affect and restricted and repetitive behaviors. J Autism Dev Disord. 2014;44(10):2400-2412.

Iadarola S, Hetherington S, Clinton C, Dean M, et al. Services for children with autism spectrum disorder in three, large urban school districts: Perspectives of parents and educators. Autism. 2015 Aug;19(6):694-703.

Jones RM, Somerville LH, Li J, et al. Adolescent-specific patterns of behavior and neural activity during social reinforcement learning. Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci. 2014 Jun;14(2):683-697.

Kasari C, Lawton K, Shih W, et al. Caregiver-mediated intervention for low-resourced preschoolers with autism: an RCT. Pediatrics. 2014 Jul;134(1):e72-e79.

Kasari C, Shire S, Factor R, McCracken C. Psychosocial treatments for individuals with autism spectrum disorder across the lifespan: new developments and underlying mechanisms. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2014 Nov;16(11):512.

Kasari C. Are we there yet? The state of early prediction and intervention in autism spectrum disorder. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2014;53(2):133-134.

Lord C, Corsello C, Grzadzinski R. Diagnostic instruments in Autistic Spectrum Disorders. In F. Volkmar, S. Rogers, R. Paul, & K. Pelphrey (Eds.), Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2014. pp. 609-660.

MacDonald M, Lord C, Ulrich DA. Motor skills and calibrated autism severity in young children with autism spectrum disorder. Adapt Phys Activ Q. 2014 Apr;31(2):95-105.

Dean M, Adams G, Kasari C. How narrative difficulties build peer rejection: a discourse analysis of a girl with autism and her female peers. Discourse Studies. 2013;15(2):147-166.

Grzadzinski R, Huerta M, Lord C. DSM-5 and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs): an opportunity for identifying ASD subtypes. Mol Autism. 2013;4(1):12.

Jones RM, Lord C. Diagnosing autism in neurobiological research studies. Behav Brain Res. 2013;251:113-124.

Kasari C, Smith T. Interventions in schools for children with autism spectrum disorder: methods and recommendations. Autism. 2013;17(3):254-267.

MacDonald M, Lord C, Ulrich DA. The relationship of motor skills and social communicative skills in school-aged children with autism spectrum disorder. Adapt Phys Activ Q. 2013 Jul;30(3):271-282.

Somerville LH, Jones RM, Ruberry EJ, Dyke JP, Glover G, Casey BJ. The medial prefrontal cortex and the emergence of self-conscious emotion in adolescence. Psychol Sci. 2013 Aug;24(8):1554-62.

Adkins KW, Goldman SE, Fawkes D, et al. A pilot study of shoulder placement for actigraphy in children. Behav Sleep Med. 2012;10(2):138-147.

Adkins KW, Molloy C, Weiss SK, et al. Effects of a standardized pamphlet on insomnia in children with autism spectrum disorders. Pediatrics. 2012;130(suppl 2):S139-S144.

Bohlander AJ, Orlich F, Varley CK. Social skills training for children with autism. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2012;59(1):165-174, xii.

Kasari C, Gulsrud A, Freeman S, Paparella T, Hellemann G. Longitudinal follow up of children with autism receiving targeted interventions on joint attention and play. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2012;51(5):487-495.

Kasari C, Patterson S. Interventions addressing social impairment in autism. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2012;14(6):713-725.

Kasari C, Rotheram-Fuller E, Locke J, Gulsrud A. Making the connection: randomized controlled trial of social skills at school for children with autism spectrum disorders. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2012;53(4):431-439.

Lawton K, Kasari C. Brief report: longitudinal improvements in the quality of joint attention in preschool children with autism. J Autism Dev Disord. 2012 Feb;42(2):307-312.

Locke J, Rotheram-Fuller E, Kasari C. Exploring the social impact of being a typical peer model for included children with autism spectrum disorder. J Autism Dev Disord. 2012;42(9):1895-1905.

Lord C, Jones RM. Annual research review: re-thinking the classification of autism spectrum disorders. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2012;53(5):490-509.

Maglione MA, Gans D, Das L, et al. Nonmedical interventions for children with ASD: recommended guidelines and further research needs. Pediatrics. 2012;130(suppl 2):S169-S178.

Kasari C, Locke J, Gulsrud A, Rotheram-Fuller E. Social networks and friendships at school: comparing children with and without ASD. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 2011;41(5):533-544.

Kasari C, Lawton K. New directions in behavioral treatment of autism spectrum disorders. Curr Opin Neurol. 2010 Apr;23(2):137-143.

Kasari C, Lawton K. New directions in behavioral treatment of autism spectrum disorders. Curr Opin Neurol. 2010;23(2):137-143.

Lawton K, Kasari C. Social development and intervention in young children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Young Exceptional Children. 2010; 12: 66-74.


Autism, Social & Emotional Development, Early Intervention, Cognitive & Linguistic Development, School Health Programs, Developmental Disabilities, Special Health Care Needs

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