May Institute Joins $1.2M UMass Study; Autism Speaks Grant Focuses on Early Intervention


May Institute has been invited to participate in a multi-state study led by the University of Massachusetts Boston to test the benefits of an early  intervention program for young children at risk for or evidencing autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Boston University, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Miami will also participate in the study.

Funded by a $1.2 million grant from the Autism Speaks Foundation, the study will evaluate the effectiveness of an early intervention program called “More Than Words.” The program focuses on parenting practices designed to improve children’s behavior and communication skills.  Proponents hope it will positively impact long-term outcomes for children with ASD.

“Early intervention is not a cure, but it can make a tremendous difference in social and language skills. How well a child is doing in terms of
language is a strong predictor of lifelong functioning,” said Dr. Alice Carter of the University of Massachusetts, Boston and Lead Investigator of the study.

“We are excited to be collaborating on this important project,” said Susan Wilczynski, Ph.D., BCBA, Vice President of Autism Services at May Institute and Executive Director of the National Autism Center. “It is absolutely essential to conduct research to identify treatments that work for the youngest children at risk for ASD.”

The study will involve 176 families in Massachusetts, Florida, and Tennessee. Parenting groups for Massachusetts participants will be held at May Institute.