Feasibility of Concurrent Observational and Physiological Data Collection for Children with Minimally-Verbal ASD

Principal Investigator(s):
Ashley Muskett
Grant Type:
Graduate Research
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Blacksburg, Virginia
Year Awarded:
Early Intervention


While it is estimated that 30% of the total Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) population acquire very little or no language (Davis et al., 2011), few studies look at ASD treatment from a mental or emotional health perspective for this minimally verbal (MV) population (Tager-Flusberg & Kasari, 2013). It is well documented that there is a need for anxiety assessment and treatment for children with ASD (White, Oswald, Ollendick & Scahill, 2009). This study proposes to examine the feasibility of implementing an observational anxiety assessment and concurrent physiological data collection for children with MV-ASD. It is hypothesized that this measure will demonstrate adequate demand, acceptability, and feasibility to merit further study of the measure. Participants will consist of 30 children with MV-ASD and one parent or caregiver. Each family will visit the clinic for one three-hour visit during which the parent or caregiver will complete several questionnaires to assess the child’s eligibility for the study as well as their current functioning. Children will complete several clinician-administered assessments and observations. Scores from the acceptability questionnaire, the number of participants who sign a consent form, and percentages of participants who complete the study will be calculated. If the hypotheses are supported, this study would facilitate further study of the observational anxiety measure in terms of its convergent and divergent validity for use in children with MV-ASD.

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