Snijder MIJ, Dietz C, van Andel M, Ruiter ELM, Buitelaar JK, Oosterling IJ.
BMC Psychiatry. 2022 Dec 8;22(1):772. doi: 10.1186/s12888-022-04351-x.
BACKGROUND: Although the importance of early detection and early intervention of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is widely recognized, multiple barriers exist in accessing early intervention services. As an alternative to these barriers, the SCOPE project presents a new, easy accessible and blended intervention called BEAR (Blended E-health for children at eArly Risk). This paper describes this BEAR intervention and study design of an ongoing two arm cluster randomized controlled trial (RCT).
METHODS: BEAR (Blended E-health for children at eArly Risk) is a blended e-health intervention, based on evidence-based naturalistic developmental behavioral interventions (NDBI’s) and can be offered to parents and infants/toddlers at high likelihood for ASD. During the ongoing RCT, N = 88 high risk infants and toddlers will be cluster randomized over the BEAR intervention and care-as-usual (CAU) conditions. The finalized version of the intervention protocol and study design are presented in this paper. The primary outcome measure is joint engagement measured by the Joint Engagement Rating Inventory (JERI) during videotaped parent-child interaction. Secondary outcome measures include severity of ASD symptoms, global level of adaptive functioning, parental well-being, parental skills and satisfaction with healthcare. Also, costs will be estimated from society’s perspective. Assessments take place at the start of the study (T1), after eight weeks (T2) and after six months (T3) and include behavioral home observations and parental questionnaires.
DISCUSSION: The SCOPE project aims to contribute to improved early identification and timely start of suitable interventions for infants and toddlers at elevated likelihood for ASD. This ongoing RCT will offer insight in the feasibility, short-term and six months effects of the innovative BEAR intervention. It is estimated that inclusion for the trial (N = 88) is completed in spring 2023.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: Dutch Trial Register, NTR7695. Registered at December 17th, 2018, www.trialregister.nl .