Promising New Research on Early Intervention for Autism
CNN reports that a study confirms that early autism intervention in toddlers is effective. A study was completed with a program called the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM). This program involves about twenty hours a week in the child’s own home. It involves play and parents can easily learn some of the skills that can be applied in other settings. The study compared a group of toddlers that were given ESDM intervention to a group of toddlers receiving typical community interventions. Both groups showed improvement, but the ESDM group improved IQ by 18 points compared to 8 points with traditional interventions. The study is reporting that some of the children “virtually caught up to the typical kids their age.” However, they are not claiming it is a cure for autism. According to the article they are working on a replication study to determine if there are similar results. Personally, I’m looking forward to the results of the replication study and want to find out more about this method. From what I understand it is less of a time constraint than ABA therapy.
This study also demonstrated the need for early intervention, which also includes early identification. When children are diagnosed early, they can begin receiving interventions that are proven effective. The study showed that current methods are working, but there may be a new program that can be even more effective on the horizon.
I’d love to hear more from my readers if you have any experience with ESDM or more information about it.