San Diego, CA | December 19, 2011 – The National Foundation for Autism Research (NFAR) has awarded the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) a Community Project Grant to conduct a randomized trial of a playgroup for teaching social skills to children with autism spectrum disorders. Twenty-four children, ages five to seven, will learn critical social skills, such as sharing, turn-taking, initiating play, joining play, and maintaining play over the course of a 12-week program called Creating Opportunities to Meet Peers and Advance Social Skills (The COMPASS Project). The study will take place at CARD’s San Diego location with no cost to participants.
“We are grateful for NFAR’s support. Many individuals with autism spectrum disorders face significant challenges in the development of social skills. Our study will conduct behaviorally oriented playgroups with the goal of enhancing the foundational social skills of the children who participate,” says CARD Director of Research and Development Jonathan Tarbox, PhD, BCBA-D. Tarbox is the study’s principal investigator. “We are hoping to develop a research-based model for social skills groups that can be replicated on a wider basis in the community.”
This grant is one of six awarded by NFAR this year in its Community Project Grants category. An additional 64 grants were awarded by NFAR to San Diego educators earlier this month, furthering its mission to “aid in the development, expansion and support of effective treatment programs and services that improve the quality of life for children and young adults with autism and autism spectrum disorders.” To find out more about NFAR and its important work, visit its website at www.NFAR.org.