A two-year NRSA training fellowship was recently awarded to Kyle Frost to identify the active ingredients of Project ImPACT.

The study objective is to use a mixed methods approach to elucidate potential active ingredients and associated mechanisms of change of an empirically supported early intervention which addresses core deficits of ASD. First, interviews with key stakeholders and subsequent qualitative analysis will be used to develop a comprehensive Theory of Change describing the potential active ingredients and mechanisms of change underlying Project ImPACT, an evidence-based PI-NDBI. This will clarify how parent- and provider-level factors may impact intervention outcomes. Next, a triangulation protocol will be used to integrate theory and research evidence with data from stakeholders. These results will be visualized in a Theory of Change model. Last, we will provide proof-of-concept of the Theory of Change by testing select pathways using archival data from intervention trials of Project ImPACT. The proposed research and multifaceted training plan include ongoing mentorship with experts in intervention and implementation science, advanced training in qualitative and mixed methods research, exposure to the field of evaluation science, supervised clinical experience, and experience engaging community stakeholders in research. Identification of active ingredients and associated mechanisms of change has the potential to optimize effectiveness and streamline interventions to increase access for those with limited resources and the greatest need for high fidelity treatments. This would help address the long-term public health impacts of early social communication deficits in ASD.

This study is being led by Kyle Frost, MS from Michigan State University, with mentorship from Brooke Ingersoll, PhD from Michigan State University and Aubyn Stahmer, PhD from UC Davis MIND Institute.