Academic Research: Evidence-based Comprehensive Treatments for Early Autism

Rogers, S., & Vismara, L. (2008). Evidence-based comprehensive treatments for early autism. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 37(1), 8-38.

This journal article reviews early intervention papers in the autism field from 1986-2006 to analyze what kinds of treatments are most efficacious in early autism, what variables moderate and mediate treatment, and the degree of improvements to be expected.

The authors found five key issues: First, while it appears that young children with autism, as a group, may show significant developmental gains as a result of early intervention, it is difficult to figure out which treatment is best because there are no comparative studies. Second, some treatments (Lovaas and pivotal-response training) appear to work consistently, but it is difficult to say this for other treatments because of a lack of strong treatment design or because these have not been independently reproduced. Third, it is still difficult to say with any certainty how much an early intervention can help a child with autism. Fourth, interventions that have been studied in journal do not tend to focus on children from different cultures or lower socioeconomic statuses. Finally, the research needed to say which intervention is most beneficial can be difficult because early interventions have to address every developmental area through a lifetime.

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Date posted: January 21, 2012. Content created by The Autism NOW Center. Last updated: November 19, 2012.

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