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$3.8 million NIH grant will help University of Missouri researchers develop measurement for autism symptoms

November 14, 2013

University of Missouri’s Michah Mazurek, clinical psychologist at MU’s Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, has recently received a National Institutes of Health grant.  These funds will be used to continue to develop the Autism Measurement Tool (AIM).

Thirteen years ago, 1 in 150 children were identified with autism spectrum disorder. Today, it’s about one in 88 children, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network.

With more children being diagnosed, research into effective treatment methods is increasing. However, the field has lacked a scientifically sound measure to track short-term improvements in children with autism.

“The onus was on us to develop the measure,” said Micah Mazurek, assistant professor of health psychology at the MU School of Health Professions and a clinical child psychologist at MU’s Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders. This semester, Mazurek  was awarded a $3.8 million three-year National Institutes of Health grant to research a new autism measurement tool.

Mazurek co-developed the Autism Impact Measure (AIM) with Stephen Kanne, executive director of the Thompson Center, and they are continuing to work together to refine the tool.

The AIM chronicles core symptoms of autism, such as social problems, communication problems and repetitive behaviors. Parents rate their children’s symptoms by completing a 41-item questionnaire. The measure was designed to track symptom improvements over the course of treatment and can be completed every few weeks.  See more…