Skip Navigation
Funding Opportunities | Search Funded Research Grants and Contracts

IES Grant

Title: Developing and Refining a Parent Training to Improve Outcomes for African American Children with Autism
Center: NCSER Year: 2021
Principal Investigator: Pearson, Jamie Awardee: North Carolina State University
Program: Early Career Development and Mentoring      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (7/1/2021 – 6/30/2025) Award Amount: $699,244
Type: Training Award Number: R324B210003

Mentors: Hume, Kara; Crossland, Cathy

Purpose: The Principal Investigator (PI) will conduct a program of research for improving outcomes for African American children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families. The PI will also participate in mentoring and training activities to develop expertise in community-engaged research with underrepresented populations, randomized controlled trials and single-case designs, and grant and publication writing. African American children are less likely to be diagnosed with ASD than White children, and when they are diagnosed, African American families face a variety of barriers to accessing and utilizing services. Families are key stakeholders in navigating and facilitating services for children with ASD, yet little has been done to reduce disparities in service access and utilization via community-based interventions for African American parents. To address this need, the PI will further develop and test the promise of FACES (Fostering Advocacy, Communication, Empowerment, and Support), a community-based parent-training intervention designed to strengthen African American parents' capacity to access and utilize special education services and improve the communication and behavior outcomes of their children with ASD.

Research Plan: Through a series of four phases, the PI will (1) develop the FACES Facilitator Training for community-based parent educators, (2) refine the existing FACES intervention content, (3) assess the feasibility of the FACES training, and (4) determine the promise of the full FACES intervention. In Phase 1, the PI will analyze records from two large parent training providers, the Exceptional Children's Assistant Center and the Autism Society of North Carolina, to explore their scope of reach, the demographics of families they serve, and the types of services and supports requested by families. A focus group with parent educators will also be held to better understand their practices and knowledge of ASD-related strategies and resources. In Phase 2, the PI will refine the FACES intervention content and develop the FACES Facilitator Training based on the findings from Phase 1. The PI will also obtain feedback on the training materials and procedures from an advisory board of expert researchers and African American parents of children with ASD. In Phase 3, the PI will field test the FACES Facilitator Training to evaluate its feasibility, acceptability, and impact on parent educators' implementation fidelity. The field test will involve a single-case design and semi-structured interviews with parent educators and parents. The FACES Facilitator Training will be revised based on findings from the field test. In Phase 4, the PI will conduct a pilot randomized controlled trial to determine the feasibility, acceptability, and promise of the fully developed FACES program for improving parent educators' fidelity and outcomes for African American parents (knowledge of ASD resources and evidence-based strategies, stress, and empowerment), and their children with ASD (behavior and communication). In addition, the PI will determine the costs associated with implementing FACES.

Career Plan: Through a career development plan, the PI intends to build expertise in (1) community engaged research with underrepresented populations, (2) randomized controlled trials and single-case designs, and (3) grant and publication writing. This will be accomplished through meeting with mentors, consulting with the project statistician, attending IES training institutes, participating in monthly faculty writing retreats, and taking courses on grant research and writing.