University of Southern California
University of Southern California
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy


Parents and Infants Engaged (PIE)

Principal Investigator: Grace Baranek PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA
Co-Investigator: John Sideris PhD
Project Coordinator: Cristin Holland

August 2017 to July 2020 | Total funding $79,172

Funding source Date/s Amount

NIH/Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (R21HD091547) Aug 2017 – Jul 2020 $400,200 (full award); $79,172 (USC subcontract)

The PIE study is a “proof of concept” evaluation of PIE, an intervention for infants at-risk for neurodevelopmental disorders. This study is a two-site collaboration at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (UNC) and the University of Southern California (USC Chan Division). It examines whether the PIE intervention transforms parent-infant transactions over time, increases joint engagement between infants and parents, and is associated with improved social-communication and autonomic self-regulation in infants at-risk for neurodevelopmental disorders. Further, the PIE Extension Study will acquire normative data for children ages 11-16 months and compare developmental trajectories in social communication skills, sensory responses, dyadic engagement with caregivers, physiological regulation, and language, comparing high and low risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Finally, this study will determine the relative power of early developmental measures for predicting diagnostic outcomes at age 36 months and examine psychophysiological co-regulation in parent-infant interaction as it relates to social-communicative outcomes.

Enrollment is currently available only at the UNC site; data coding and analysis is occurring at both sites.