With nearly $4,000,000 in innovative research grants over the loast 10 years, Dr. Pamela Rollins’ independent research has provided evidence showing the Pathways Parent Training Program to be effective for developing early foundational social communication skills including eye contact, social engagement, and verbal reciprocity.

Pathways Early Autism Intervention

Pathways is an innovative Parent Training Program designed specifically for IDEA Part C professionals.


While the Pathways Parent Training Program meets the criteria of a Naturalistic Developmental Behavioral Intervention (NDBI), there are two very specific and innovative ways that it is different…

First, it is a “Practice to Research” model, meaning it was developed in the real world of practice and then when it was found by the users to be effective moved to the clinical research setting to study the efficacy. Pathways was developed within an authentic early childhood setting and was designed to fit the principles and service delivery model of IDEA Part-C early childhood programs.

Second, we developed an innovative protocol that works directly on socially engaged eye contact which research has shown to be the active ingredient in the program. Pathways, with its unique protocol for social eye gaze, is more effective at facilitating shared emotion skills, suggesting that eye gaze may be a pivotal skill for the development of early social communication skills in children with ASD.

The Pathways Parent Training Program...

The Pathways Parent Training Program was developed specifically to teach parents to address the unique needs of their toddler with autism. Our early autism intervention program is based on the most current research on intervention for toddlers with autism spectrum disorders. We use an approach that promotes communication and social engagement; changing the developmental trajectory and helping these children become active participants in the world.

The Pathways Parent Training Program is delivered in weekly 1.5 hour sessions. With the support of the Pathways trained interventionist, parents will learn the skills and strategies to enable them to facilitate their child’s learning and development. Parents will master new and powerful strategies and use them to address the core characteristics of autism which will change the way their child interacts with the social environment and significantly minimize the effects of autism.

ThePathways Parent Training Program is a manualized program developed to fit the guiding principles of early intervention. It is a Naturalistic Developmental Behavioral Intervention (NDBI). The procedures taught follow the principles of operant learning and are based on powerful Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) teaching tools—such as prompting, fading, shaping and chaining. Our curriculum is derived from scientific literature focusing on early child and social communication development. The Pathways Parent Training Program is a therapeutic, parent training model delivered in the home—the child’s natural environment.

The Pathways Provider Training Model...

The Pathways team has developed a training model designed to provide widespread intensive instruction to Early Childhood Interventionists. This will enable agencies to build the capacity to provide effective evidence-based early autism specific intervention to a rapidly growing population of toddlers with or suspected of autism and their families. With the Pathways program, you will build a cost-effective and sustainable program in a relatively short time.

After an initial face-to-face introduction, planning, and overview with the agency, each interventionist to be trained will complete a short series of online instructional modules to provide a foundation of knowledge and understanding. The trainees will then attend a four-day intensive step-by-step instruction course teaching the Pathways NDBI model. At the end of the four-day intensive training, your interventionists are ready to begin providing intervention to families. Monthly meetings for the following year provide support and additional training. At the end of the year, the trainee becomes a Certified Pathways Trainer. A second phase of support includes more intensive ongoing training for select providers to become agency support personnel.

Meet Our Team

Meet our incredible team of experts!

Dr. Rollins and the Pathways Research...

Research is based on the scientific method, which outlines set procedures and protocols that all researchers use so that findings may be uniformly interpreted. Since 2015, Dr. Pamela Rollins from the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas has received up to 4 million dollars from Innovative Research Grants from the State of Texas to study the Pathways Program.

Other than the first pilot study, and 1 case study, each research study has been a Randomized Controlled Trial (RTC) which is the gold standard of research design. This means that each participant family is placed in a group, and the results are compared to rule out other events that could have caused the changes we see in toddler with or suspected of Autism. The results of the study are then written up and presented to scientific journals where a team of peers scrutinized the study and the findings to make sure the findings are valid and have merit.

It is important that parents and practitioners understand that the research process is rigorous and lengthy. There are many hurdles along the way in being able say that a particular method, program, or protocol actually does what the authors state it does.

The Pathways Parent Training Program is evidence based according to this independent research. Nine papers are published in peer reviewed journals such as the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, outlining the effectiveness of Pathways in answering well thought out and systematic research questions such as:

Is Pathways effective for toddlers ages 18-months to 36-months?

Is the Pathways innovative protocol the “active ingredient” for the success?

Is Pathways effective for ages 12-months through age 5?

Can IDEA Part C ECI personnel effectively implement the Pathways Program?

Does the Pathways Program lower parent stress?

Is Pathways culturally sound for the Hispanic culture?

The answer to all of these questions is YES !

Pathways Research:

Click on the tabs below to read a bit about each of the published studies that have been completed on Pathways to date. Each tab includes a link to the actual paper or to a summary of the paper.

Interested in learning more about Pathways?

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