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

Project Website
Principal Investigator: Connie Kasari
Project Number: UT3MC39436
Grantee: University of California, Los Angeles
Department/Center: NPI: Semel Institute
Project Date: 09/01/2020


  • 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. Products: 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.


Listed is descending order by year published.

"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 "

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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