Article by UF researcher named top autism research paper of 2015


A paper co-authored by University of Florida researcher Cynthia Johnson, Ph.D., has been named one of the Top 10 autism research papers published in 2015 by Autism Speaks.

The science staff and scientific advisory board of Autism Speaks identified the 10 research reports of the past year that most powerfully advanced understanding and treatment of autism.

The article by Johnson, an associate professor of clinical and health psychology in the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions and a member of the Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies, and her colleagues described the findings of a multisite trial that examined a training program for parents of children with autism spectrum disorders. Researchers found that the program can reduce serious behavior problems, including tantrums, aggression and self-injury, in these children by nearly 70 percent. The findings were published April 21 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It is the largest autism clinical trial to date.

“There is a pressing need for effective, but affordable treatments for behavioral problems associated with autism spectrum disorder,” Johnson said. “Parent training programs can help to address that need. Parents play a central role in the ongoing development of their child, and in many areas across the country, trained therapists may not be available.”