The JASPER Model for Children with Autism

Promoting Joint Attention, Symbolic Play, Engagement, and Regulation

Connie Kasari, Amanda C. Gulsrud, Stephanie Y. Shire, and Christina Strawbridge

HardcoverPaperbacke-bookprint + e-book
September 2, 2021
ISBN 9781462547579
Price: $120.00 $90.00
330 Pages
Size: 8" x 10" 1/12"
September 2, 2021
ISBN 9781462547562
Price: $60.00 $45.00
330 Pages
Size: 8" x 10" 1/12"
September 2, 2021
ePub and PDF ?
Price: $60.00 $45.00
330 Pages
print + e-book
Paperback + e-Book (ePub and PDF) ?
Price: $120.00 $66.00
330 Pages

This full-color, clinician-friendly manual is the authoritative guide to implementing the Joint Attention, Symbolic Play, Engagement, and Regulation (JASPER) intervention. With a strong evidence base, JASPER provides a clear, flexible structure to bolster early skills core to social communication development. The authors show how to assess 1- to 8-year-olds with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), set treatment targets, choose engaging play materials, tailor JASPER strategies to each individual, and troubleshoot common challenges. In a convenient large-size format, the manual features case examples, learning exercises, and reproducible clinical tools. Purchasers get access to a companion website where they can download and print the reproducible materials as well as a supplemental annotated bibliography.

“The JASPER treatment model is one of the most significant advances in early intervention for autism over the past 30 years. With clinical insight and careful research, the authors grounded JASPER in an understanding of early child development and the characteristics of autism that create learning and social communication challenges. They impeccably gathered evidence to appraise the model's effectiveness and its feasibility for use at home or in schools, by interventionists, teachers, or parents. The JASPER manual can significantly inform and benefit any clinician, educator, or student dedicated to evidence-based best practices in early intervention for children with autism.”

—Peter Mundy, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Education and Lisa Capps Professor of Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Education in Psychiatry, University of California, Davis

“This essential book presents a groundbreaking intervention in an easy-to-read format. Children learn through play and connection, which are central to JASPER. Learning the fundamentals of JASPER and using these strategies within the public health system in Newfoundland and Labrador has had a significant positive impact on the children of our province, improving outcomes and allowing them to experience the joy of playing and learning.”

—Lisa Baker Worthman, MEd, Department of Health and Community Services, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

“Having closely followed the research on JASPER from its earliest stages, I am delighted that Kasari and her colleagues have now brought together all they have learned about how to implement their creative and engaging intervention for children with autism. JASPER has been shown in a large number of gold-standard clinical trials to be highly effective in promoting social communication and cognitive and language skills. The book provides a comprehensive overview of JASPER's guiding developmental framework and describes how to implement intervention strategies tailored to the specific profiles of individual children. The clear writing and fun illustrations capture the engaging nature of JASPER, which is grounded in easy-to-implement play-based interactions. This volume will earn a place of honor on every practitioner’s bookshelf!”

—Helen Tager-Flusberg, PhD, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Boston University

Table of Contents

I. Introduction to JASPER

1. What Is JASPER?

2. Core Domains

II. Setting Targets

3. SPACE Administration

4. Identifying Mastered and Target Skills

III. Preparing for Session

5. Introduction to JASPER Routines

6. Assembling JASPER Routines

7. Preparing a JASPER Environment

8. Setting the Foundation for Engagement and Regulation

IV. Play

9. Imitating and Modeling Play

10. Establishing the Base

11. Expanding Routines

V. Communication

12. Core Communication Strategies

13. Programming for Gestures and Language

14. Incorporating a Speech-Generating Device

VI. Troubleshooting

15. Supporting Engagement

16. Supporting Regulation

17. Supporting Productive Play in the Context of RRBs

VII. Conclusion

18. Putting It All Together

Appendix A. Strategies Checklist

Appendix B. Exercise Answers

Appendix C. Caity’s Toy Box



About the Authors

Connie Kasari, PhD, is Distinguished Professor of Human Development and Psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and is a founding member of the UCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment. Her research aims to develop novel, tested interventions implemented in community settings. Recent projects include targeted treatments for early social communication development in infants, toddlers, and preschoolers at risk for or diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and for peer relationships in school-age children with ASD. She has led many multisite federally funded projects investigating the efficacy of interventions for children with ASD and other neurodevelopmental conditions. Dr. Kasari is on the science advisory board of the Autism Speaks Foundation and regularly presents to academic and practitioner audiences locally, nationally, and internationally.

Amanda C. Gulsrud, PhD, is Associate Clinical Professor in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and Clinical Director of the multidisciplinary UCLA Child and Adult Neurodevelopmental Clinic. Dr. Gulsrud is a clinical psychologist who specializes in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and the development of behavioral interventions across the lifespan. Her research focuses on the early identification and treatment of infants and toddlers with ASD and related neurodevelopmental disorders, utilizing the JASPER intervention. She has played an integral role in the development and adaptation of JASPER for infants and toddlers, has worked closely with the team testing JASPER’s effectiveness across a variety of settings, and is a collaborator on several current research trials utilizing JASPER.

Stephanie Y. Shire, PhD, is Assistant Professor in Early Intervention and Early Childhood Special Education in the College of Education at the University of Oregon. Her research interests focus on the development, adaptation, and real-world effectiveness of intervention programs for children with autism spectrum disorder and other neurodevelopmental disorders, examined through community partnerships in both low- and high-resource settings. She is interested in the use of effectiveness–implementation hybrid designs to examine community practitioners’ adoption of intervention strategies as well as children’s development. Dr. Shire has played an integral role in the development and dissemination of the JASPER intervention. She has worked on studies focusing on classroom adaptation and deployment, JASPER for children who have minimal verbal language, and community implementation and training, including remote training strategies. She conducts JASPER training nationally and internationally.

Christina Strawbridge is Research Associate in the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at the David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles. Ms. Strawbridge joined the Kasari Lab in 2012, with research interests in child development and behavioral interventions for children with autism spectrum disorder. She spends most of her time writing about JASPER, from public-facing websites to training materials and clinicians’ manuals. She played a key role in the writing and development of the JASPER manual.


Early intervention specialists, clinical psychologists, special educators, child psychiatrists, social workers, ABA specialists, speech–language pathologists, and occupational therapists.

Course Use

May serve as a supplemental text in graduate-level courses.