Infant Toddler Autism Program

Social and communication delays in infancy and early childhood impact participation in all facets of daily and family life. Parents of young children who are exhibiting signs or symptoms of autism often experience increased levels of stress and decreased satisfaction and participation in their parental role. The Infant Toddler Autism Program (ITAP) is for students who want to learn about early intervention, early autism and parent coaching. Specifically, students interested in serving families through the occupational therapy lens of participation will find this experience a good fit.

General Description of Student Activities

ITAP students will learn clinically specific, evidence-based strategies to increase social engagement and functional communication with young children showing signs or symptoms of autism. Students will also learn and practice parent coaching techniques that can be generalized across pediatric interventions. Students will review the current evidence base for best practice in working in early intervention, and specifically early autism. Students will learn about quantitative and qualitative research, community education and parent support activities.

Examples of Projects

  • Contributing to the development and implementation of a parent support group for families of young children with social and communication delays
  • Analyzing and describing social engagement indicators from parent-child interactions pre- and post-clinical intervention
  • Developing occupation-focused education materials for parents of young children showing signs or symptoms of autism.
  • Contributing to increasing community awareness of early indicators of autism by developing educational materials and presenting on the topic to community partners
  • Contributing to a better understanding of parent experience of early autism via parent focus groups and qualitative data analysis