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.

4 Responses to “Promising New Research on Early Intervention for Autism”

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  2. Great info on Early Intervention – see more here: Also, if you are an autism service provider please post your info for free in our autism resource directory:

  3. Hartley says:


    I stumbled onto your blog today and thought this was a great article. I don’t think it is any surprise that early intervention works, but I am intersted to find out what the new therapy model is that takes less time than traditional ABA.

    Thanks for sharing,

  4. Thanks for commenting on this outcome research and the importance of early identification and intervention. The Denver Model (originally the Playschool Model) utilizes a developmental approach and is based on an assumption is that if an intervention is focused on establishing strong, affective relationships, then broad improvements in development might be possible. Peer interactions are taught in inclusive preschool settings in which children with autism and their neurotypical peers are encouraged to initiate interactions with one another and imitate each other in play. Although the vast majority of intervention research has been conducted in the general area of applied behavior analysis, comprehensive programs such as the Denver Model, Pivotal Response Model, Developmental Intervention Model, and TEACCH hold promise for improving the outcomes for children with autism spectrum disorders.

    Of course, there is no single intervention or treatment that is right for every child with an autism spectrum disorder and no specific program or model has been shown to be superior to another. According to the National Research Council (2001), research is not yet available to predict which intervention approaches work best with which children. As a result, no one approach or method is equally effective with all children, and not all children will make the same progress or gains. The most effective interventions and programs are those that are based on the individual child’s unique needs, strengths and weaknesses.

    Everyone is invited to visit to view some informative posts relating to autism.