There is a lack of evidence-based, effective and preventative treatment for very young children at high-risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder. Our project will address a critical public health issue for families with very young children who are at high-risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Evidence-based, effective and preventative treatment can improve the lives of these children significantly and provide important support for their parents. With this in mind, we propose to deliver a preventative treatment approach for high-risk caregiver-infant pairs. ASD affects approximately 1 in 59 children in the United States. This project brings together a team that has the potential to transform current practice and address critical service gaps. Dr. Colombi is a Research Professor in the Department of Psychiatry with a passion for helping families with autism spectrum disorder as early as possible. Diagnosis, socio-cognitive development and the efficacy of early intervention are the areas of focus for her research. In addition to being Professor of Psychiatry and Obstetrics and Gynecology at University of Michigan, Dr. Katherine Rosenblum co-directs the Women and Infants Mental Health Program at UM. She also founded the Zero to Thrive program, which provides training to caregivers focused on providing mental health support during the first three years, particularly for families who face the greatest risks to their mental health. Dr. Dale Ulrich is professor of Applied Exercise Science and Movement Science, and is the director of the Center on Physical Activity and Health in Pediatric Disabilities (CPAH) in the School of Kinesiology. Dr. Ulrich’s research indicated that improving a young child with ASD motor skills resulted in improved performance in language and social skill development.
We need a radical shift in our current healthcare methods to meet the needs of families and reduce the burden ASD imposes on families and society. While our system of healthcare has historically focused on a “diagnose then treat” approach, in this application we are proposing a preventive, “treat high-risk and monitor” model as a vital and necessary shift in care. One way of increasing access to intervention is to teach intervention strategies to parents. Parent-based interventions have shown positive outcomes in children, as well as in parents. Research has shown that by learning intervention strategies with the help of professionals, parents naturally implement intervention throughout the day during activities such as play, mealtime, and grooming. By including the parents in the intervention, the time spent with a professional will have cascading effects in terms of increasing therapeutic productive time for the child. Moreover, by acquiring effective intervention strategies, parents improve their sense of competence and thereby their overall mental health. This project directly addresses the current challenges related to accessing ASD specialized services very early in development. The project aims to deliver a gold-standard treatment for ASD, the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM: Rogers and Dawson, 2010), in infants who are at very high-risk, while building capacity, and focusing on access in the period immediately prior to diagnosis for this vulnerable population. The objectives of this project are three-fold. First, it aims to deliver an evidence-based treatment for ASD in infancy in a parent-child setting while training professionals in the ESDM model. Second, it aims to improve child outcomes by delivering a preventative model of treatment that can be initiated even before diagnosis, eliminating the gap in treatment that these vulnerable young children typically experience. Third, it aims to reduce parenting stress in caregivers and thereby enhance the resilience of family functioning alongside improvements in child outcomes.
Please Note This Project Is Now Closed.
The Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research (MICHR) seeks innovative translational research projects that will ultimately have significant potential to improve patient and community health outcomes. The goal of this funding is to support interdisciplinary research teams in generating sufficient preliminary data to pursue future extramural funding and publication opportunities. We welcome research proposed at any stage of translation, including:
- preclinical research that aims to connect the basic science of disease with human medicine
- clinical research to better understand a disease in humans
- clinical implementation, involving the adoption of interventions demonstrated useful in the research environment into routine clinical care, and
- the study of health outcomes at the population level to determine the effects of diseases and efforts to prevent, diagnose and treat them
MICHR will fund up to five Classic Cubes ($60K) and 13 Mini Cubes ($15K).
No unit or faculty contribution is required.
Project Submission Process
Interested faculty members please provide the following information to be considered for funding:
Click the Comments tab above, and post a project idea in the Mcubed website. Please do not exceed two paragraphs in length. Provide basic details about the proposed research.
Comment should also include:
- Three cube collaborators - faculty names and units. The team must include 3 faculty from at least 2 units, and 1 faculty member on each team must be from Medicine.
- Grant amount requested ($15K or $60K)
- Studies proposing cell or animal models should provide reasoning of how the research will lead to immediate next step studies in humans.
Comments will be accepted until May 15, 2019.
Note: Project duration is one year from the transfer of funds.
For additional questions about this funding opportunity, please contact Beth LaPensee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For eligibility requirements, use of funds, and details on the application process, please see: