Pre-School Autism Intervention and Autism Development: A Longitudinal Follow-Up of the Preschool Autism Communication Trial (PACT).

Project Details


The PACT 7-11 was a follow-up study to the Pre-school Autism Communication Trial. It was funded by the Medical Research Council and ran between 2013 and 2015.

We saw 83% of the original PACT cohort when they were aged 7 to 11 years and carried out detailed assessments with the children and their parents.

The study was an invaluable opportunity to study longitudinal development in autism and to understand more about what factors in the pre-school years affect how children develop into middle childhood.

Middle childhood in autism is in itself an under-researched area, and so we are embracing the opportunity to study this well-characterised group of children and families in more detail.

Little is known about the longer term effects of early intervention for children with autism or their families. This was an opportunity to investigate longer-term effects of the PACT therapy.

The PACT Trial found that the communication-based parent-mediated therapy delivered in the trial brought about positive changes in the way that parent and child communicated with each other. However these improvements did not generalise to broader measures of autism symptoms.

Each family was involved in the initial PACT study for around 13 months. This was a relatively short time period and may have been too short to pick up generalisation effects that take longer to manifest.

Moreover, if parents continued to implement the communication-enhanced parenting they learnt in the therapy after the trial had finished, this might bring about continued positive change.
Short titleR:KAF GREJ11
Effective start/end date1/10/1231/03/15

Collaborative partners

  • The University of Manchester (lead)
  • NHS Stockport (Collaborator)
  • Guy's & St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust (Sub-contractor)
  • King's College London (Sub-contractor)
  • Newcastle University (Sub-contractor)

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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