Melanie Pellecchia's research while affiliated with University of Pennsylvania and other places

Publications (18)

Article
Full-text available
Programmatic cost assessment of clinical interventions can inform future dissemination and implementation efforts. We conducted a randomized trial of Project ImPACT (Improving Parents As Communication Teachers) in which community early intervention (EI) providers coached caregivers in techniques to improve young children’s social communication skil...
Article
Full-text available
Background This implementation feasibility study was conducted to determine whether an evidence-based parent-implemented distance-learning intervention model for young children at high likelihood of having ASD could be implemented at fidelity by Part C community providers and by parents in low-resource communities. Methods The study used a communi...
Article
Naturalistic Developmental Behavioral Interventions (NDBIs) have a strong and growing evidence base. Yet, NDBIs are not implemented on a wide scale within early intervention programs for children on the autism spectrum. Potential reasons for the slow adoption of NDBIs likely stem from the differing theoretical orientations of behavioral and develop...
Article
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Background Implementation science has grown rapidly as a discipline over the past two decades. An examination of how publication patterns and other scholarly activities of implementation scientists are weighted in the tenure and promotion process is needed given the unique and applied focus of the field. Methods We surveyed implementation scientis...
Article
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Lay abstract: Providers' beliefs about an intervention's fit with a family can affect whether or not they use that intervention with a family. The factors that affect providers' decisions to use evidence-based practices for young autistic children have not been studied. These factors may play a role in the major differences we see in the quality o...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: This implementation feasibility study was conducted to determine whether an evidence-based parent -implemented distance-learning intervention model for young children at high likelihood of having ASD could be implemented at fidelity by Part C community providers and by parents in low resource communities. Methods: The study used a commu...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction: Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) benefit when their caregivers can effectively advocate for appropriate services. Barriers to caregiver engagement such as provider mistrust, cultural differences, stigma, and lack of knowledge can interfere with timely service access. We describe Mind the Gap (MTG), an intervention that pr...
Chapter
Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a scientific discipline which investigates the variables that influence human behavior. The application of ABA in the field of ASD early intervention has generated efficacious approaches to measure and modify the behavior of young children with ASD with the goal to promote the acquisition of important skills and d...
Article
Lay abstract: Interventions for children with autism spectrum disorder are complex and often are not implemented successfully within schools. When new practices are introduced in schools, they often are layered on top of existing practices, with little attention paid to how introducing new practices affects the use of existing practices. This stud...
Article
Children with autism are at high risk for self-regulation difficulties because of language delays and emotion-regulation difficulties. In typically-developing children, language development helps promote self-regulation, and in turn, cognitive development. Little research has examined the association between self-regulation and cognitive-skill deve...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Parent-mediated early interventions (EI) for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can result in significant improvements in children's cognitive ability, social functioning, behavior, and adaptive skills, as well as improvements in parental self-efficacy and treatment engagement. The common component to efficacious parent-media...
Article
Full-text available
One-to-one instruction is a critical component of evidence-based instruction for students with autism spectrum disorder, but is not used as often as recommended. Student characteristics may affect teachers’ decisions to select a treatment and/or implement it. This study examined the associations between students’ clinical and demographic characteri...
Article
Background: Research trials of early intervention (EI) programs for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) generally demonstrate medium-to-large gains, on average, compared with "treatment as usual," in different developmental domains. Almost all children with ASD receive their treatment through community-based services, however, and studies...
Article
Objective: Computer-assisted interventions (CAIs) are popular for educating children with autism, but their effectiveness is not well established. This study evaluated the effectiveness of 1 CAI designed to improve children's language, cognitive, and academic skills, TeachTown: Basics, in a large urban school district. Method: Teachers (n = 59)...
Article
Identifying triggers for challenging behavior is difficult in some children with autism because of their limited communication abilities. Physiological indicators of stress may provide important insights. This study examined whether heart rate (HR) predicts challenging behavior in children with autism. While wearing an electrocardiograph monitor, 4...

Citations

... The field is increasingly in agreement that the most evidence-based treatments for young children with ASD are those that fall under an umbrella of NDBIs (D'Agostino et al., 2022;Schreibman et al., 2015). Developmental NDBI strategies include the adult positioning their body to be face-to-face and within the child's social spotlight, following the child's lead, narrating the child's play, using exaggerated affect, modeling language and play at the child's developmental level, imitating the child vocalizations and play actions, and balanced turns (Frost et al., 2020). ...
... Initial results indicate that family-centered approaches had positive results for different parental and child outcomes such as child physical activity (Cleffi et al., 2022), child social communication (Sengupta et al., 2021), parental stress and empowerment (Sengupta et al., 2021;Wainer et al., 2021), and high acceptability of the interventions (White et al., 2021), even if concerns with technology, access, and ease of use were apparent. Importantly, the pandemic highlighted the need and opportunity to make virtual parent-mediated services accessible to people in low-resource settings (Rogers et al., 2022;Sengupta et al., 2021;Yllades et al., 2021). ...
... Children on the autism spectrum may be more likely to have difficulty in areas such as social communication, adaptive behavior, and executive functioning compared to neurotypical children, and face considerable systemic barriers to inclusion [17,18]. Moreover, these difficulties may be exacerbated for autistic children with marginalized identities or experiencing marginalized circumstances (e.g., socioeconomic disadvantage) given the lower rates at which they receive EBPs demonstrated to improve outcomes [13,19,20]. Numerous ASD-EBPs have been identified and found to improve both core and co-occurring symptoms (e.g., mental health concerns) for autistic children on average [21]. ...
... WHO-CST is a naturalistic behavioral intervention, and as such, implementation takes place during naturally occurring home and play routines requiring high levels of clinical judgment. In consequence, training of non-specialists might need more practice and coaching than more directive and structured interventions (82)(83)(84). Other studies have found that administrative support, the interactive nature of the training, and the compatibility of the training model with Facilitators' current practices facilitate the training process (54). ...
... This model also focuses on increasing the capacity of professionals and parents as change agents, and the flexibility of this model allows for multiple layers of stakeholders to provide, receive, and learn about evidence-based interventions (Reichow et al., 2013). For example, Iadarola et al. (2020) conducted a pilot program in which the researchers trained and coached parent mentors to share information on autism, health system navigation, services in the community (i.e. knowledge-focused), and challenging behavior management to their mentees whose children received a recent diagnosis of autism (i.e. ...
... The literature shows that intensive behavioral interventions are organized based on individualized stimulation. In this case, one professional for one person with ASD, with a workload of around 15 to 40 hours per week, for at least two consecutive years, starting from a varied curriculum built from the Behavior Analysis approach (Vivanti and Pellecchia, 2020). ...
... For example, computer programs for teaching social and emotional skills to autistic children have small or no effects (Ramdoss et al., 2012). Our recent randomized trial of a computer-based academic program in autism support classrooms found that, despite teacher's enthusiasm for the program (Pellecchia, Beidas, et al., 2020), there was no overall benefit to the program (Pellecchia, Marcus, et al., 2020), and it led to reduced use of evidence-based practices (Pellecchia, Beidas, et al., 2020). Similarly, Fletcher-Watson et al. (2016) found that while parents rated a tablet-based intervention highly, it did not improve social communication skills. ...
... Fourth, due to the small sample size, demographic characteristics, such as autism severity, language ability, cognitive ability, and sex difference, were not inputted into the mediation model for controlling. Previous studies have mentioned that cognitive ability (Nuske et al., 2020), language ability (Zantinge et al., 2017), and autism symptom severity (Mazefsky et al., 2013;Samson et al., 2014) were associated with emotion dysregulation. In addition, the sample size for female participants was not sufficient for the statistical analysis. ...
... One way of educating parents is parent coaching. This approach is a specific process where parents learn and practice an intervention strategy, a professional observes and provides in-the-moment suggestions, and both engage in joint reflection and discussion of processes and results (Pellecchia et al., 2020). Different models for parent coaching have been explored in the autism community (e.g., Ingersoll et al., 2016;Shire et al., 2021;Siller et al., 2018;Wetherby et al., 2014). ...
... However, these studies compared outcome between highly specialized EIBI programs in universities and medical centers versus SE settings that delivered eclectic "treatment as usual" programs in the community. Indeed, the implementation of structured EIBI programs in community settings, where expertise and resources are more limited, often yields poorer outcome in comparison to that reported in university studies (Nahmias et al., 2019). Moreover, previous studies did not directly compare outcome across ASD children placed in special and ME settings. ...