UCSB Children’s Center and Koegel Autism Center Partner for Early Intervention Study

Friday, August 30, 2019

Over the course of one year, UCSB Early Childhood Care and Education Services (ECCES) and the UCSB Koegel Autism Center will conduct a study aimed to improve the social, behavioral, and/or adaptive skills of twelve students who have been identified as having behavioral challenges and/or social communication skill deficits. This activity is made possible through the Early Intervention and Support Partnership, a collaboration among ECCES, the Koegel Autism Center, the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, and Santa Barbara’s own James S. Bower Foundation. The Partnership provides resources and guidance to families whose children face social-emotional behavioral struggles, and works to implement evidence-based best practices for combating childhood adversity.

This particular study stems from the need to prepare children with behavioral challenges for Kindergarten. Limited engagement, poor social and communication skills, and engagement in challenging behaviors prevent these students from fully participating in preschool/daycare settings and with their peers. Additionally, off-task and maladaptive behaviors can cause disruption in the inclusive space, decrease the child’s and their peers’ ability to learn, and prevent them from forming lasting relationships with others. This program intends to implement the strategies of Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) and P.R.I.D.E skills (which stands for Praise-Reflect-Imitate-Describe-Enthusiasm and is a component of Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)) when working with the children. The team wants to learn if, together, using PRT and P.R.I.D.E. strategies can increase social-communication and language skills and decrease engagement in inappropriate behaviors among at-risk students in an inclusive childcare center, as well as if the combination of strategies will result in behavior changes and improved peer interactions. 

UCSB Early Childhood Care and Education Services (ECCES)
UC Santa Barbara’s Early Childhood Care and Education Services (ECCES) promotes and
supports the social-emotional well-being of young children in our community. The goals of the program reflect an abiding sense of respect for all children, their unique cultures and individual development.

Koegel Autism Center
The Koegel Autism Center is internationally recognized for its innovative autism research and clinical training. The center strives to develop and disseminate high-impact, strength-based autism interventions and services; build collaborative partnerships with local and global communities; be culturally sensitive and responsive; provide ongoing outreach and education to families and professionals; support the diverse needs of individuals with ASD across the lifespan; and serve as a model for excellence in autism research and training.

James S. Bower Foundation
The James S. Bower Foundation provides support for the positive social and cultural evolution of our world. The Foundation helps to create a better future by making grants to partners who share the belief that a healthier world can be fostered through compassionate action and social change.

[For questions, contact the study's Project Coordinator, Kaitlynn Penner, at kpenner@ucsb.edu]