Addressing Autism Symptoms in Infancy Linked to Better Outcomes

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Very early intervention was linked to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) improvement in young children, according to a report published in MedPage Today.

Children diagnosed with autism early in life, who underwent interventions had a lower rate of ASD at 36 months than children who did not undergo intervention, Sally Rogers, PhD, of the University of California Davis, and colleagues reported in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

The study included seven children diagnosed with ASD at ages 6 to 15 months and four children diagnosed with ASD whose parents declined the intervention.

Each child was treated immediately after enrollment in the study, with 12 weekly 1-hour sessions followed by an assessment. A 6-week maintenance period followed, with 1-hour visits at weeks 2, 4, and 6. Three families brought their children in for additional sessions that focused on specific issues. All of the children received follow-up assessment at 15, 18, 24, and 36 months.

Only two of the seven children in the intervention group were diagnosed with ASD at 36 months using the Clinical Best Outcomes measure, compared with three of the four children whose parents declined intervention.

The children who received treatment had significantly lower scores on the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule than those who did not, but the treated children still showed more autism symptoms than children with typical development.

The researchers hope that their findings will encourage physicians to give more attention to parents’ concerns of poor social response in infants.

Very Early Intervention Tied to Autism Improvements
Very Early Intervention Tied to Autism Improvements

Children diagnosed with autism who received very early low-intensity intervention had far fewer symptoms of the disorder after the intervention ended, a small pilot study found.

Seven children diagnosed with autism at ages 6 months to 15 months who underwent a variety of interventions by parents and healthcare providers had lower rates of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at 36 months than a group of children with similar symptoms who did not undergo the interventions, according to Sally Rogers, PhD, of the University of California Davis, and colleagues. 

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