Early Intervention Project: Can Its Claims Be Substantiated and Its Effects Replicated?
Purchase on Springer.com
$39.95 / €34.95 / £29.95*
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.
A comprehensive report to the National Institute of Health on the diagnosis, etiology, epidemiology, and treatment of autism indicated that early intervention has the potential of being an effective intervention (Bristol et al., 1996). In spite of this positive outlook, several research and methodological questions remain regarding time of treatment initiation, intensity of treatment and duration of treatment, random assignment, comparative treatment designs, and treatment integrity. Against this backdrop we consider the claims made by the Early Intervention Project (EIP; Lovaas, 1987, 1993; McEachin, Smith, & Lovaas, 1993). The EIP claims to produce recovery from autism in 47% of the cases and to greatly reduce its severity in an additional 42% of cases. This article evaluates the EIP against threats to internal and external validity and is found to suffer from a number of methodological problems. Based on rebuttals to criticisms of their program, the EIP authors seem unwilling to admit any methodological flaws in the sampling, design, and analysis of data of the EIP. It is recommended that parents and fair hearing officers adopt an attitude of healthy skepticism before proceeding to an unqualified endorsement of the EIP as a treatment for autism.
- Alternatives to Lovaas therapy. (1996, October). Early Childhood Report—Bonus Report, pp. 1–4.
- American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
- Bristol, M., Cohen, D., Costello, J., Denckla, M., Eckberg, T., Kallen, R., Kraemer, H., Lord, C., Maurer, R., mcIllvane, W., Minshew, N., Sigman, M., & Spence, A. (1996). State of the science in autism: Report to the National Institutes of Health. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 26, 121–154.
- Campbell, M., Schopler, E., Cueva, J., & Hallin, A. (1996). Treatment of autistic disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 35, 134–143.
- Cohen, J., & Cohen, P. (1983). Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
- Cook, T. D., & Campbell, D. T. (1979). Quasi-experimentation: Design and analysis issues for field settings. Chicago: Rand McNally.
- Crocker, L., & Algina, J. (1986). Introduction to classical and modern test theory. New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston.
- Feinberg, E., & Beyer, J. (1997). Creating public policy in a climate of clinical indeterminacy: Lovaas as the case example of du jour. Infants and Young Children, 10(3).
- Gresham, F. M., & MacMillan, D. L. (1997). Autistic recovery?: An analysis and critique of the empirical evidence on the Early Intervention Project. Behavioral Disorders, 22, 185–201.
- Gubernick, L., & Conlin, M. (1997, February 10). The special education scandal. Forbes, pp. 66, 69–70.
- Guralnick, M. (1995). The effectiveness of early intervention for vulnerable children: A developmental perspective. Keynote address presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of University Affiliated Programs, November 1995, Washington, DC.
- Kazdin, A. (1993). Replication and extension of behavioral treatment of autistic disorder. American Journal on Mental Retardation, 97, 377–379.
- Lord, C., & Schopler, E. (1989). The role of age at assessment, developmental level, and test in the stability of intelligence scores in young autistic children. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 19, 483–499.
- Lovaas, O. I. (1987). Behavioral treatment and normal educational and intellectual functioning in young autistic children. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 55, 3–9.
- Lovaas, O. I. (1993). The development of a treatment-research project for developmentally disabled and autistic children. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 26, 617–630.
- Lovaas, O. I., Ackerman, A. B., Alexander, D., Firestone, P., Perkins, J., & Young, D. (1980). Teaching developmentally disabled children: The me book. Austin, TX: PRO-ED.
- Lovaas, O. I., Smith, T., & McEachin, J. (1989). Clarifying comments on the young autism study: Reply to Schopler, Short, and Mesibov. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 57, 165–167.
- McCall, R. (1979). The development of intellectual functioning in infancy and the prediction of later I.Q. In J. D. Osofsky (Ed.), Handbook of infant development (pp. 707–741). New York: Wiley.
- McEachin, J., Smith, T., & Lovaas, O. I. (1993). Long-term outcome for children with autism who received early intensive behavioral treatment. American Journal on Mental Retardation, 97, 359–372.
- Mundy, P. (1993). Normal versus high-functioning in children with autism. American Journal on Mental Retardation, 97, 381–384.
- Rogers, S. (1996). Brief report: Early intervention in autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 26, 243–246.
- Schopler, E., Short, A., & Mesibov, G. (1989). Relation of behavioral treatment to “normal functioning”: Comment on Lovaas. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 57, 162–164.
- Smith, T., & Lovaas, O. I. (1997). The UCLA Young Autism Project: A reply to Gresham and MacMillan. Behavioral Disorders, 22, 202–218.
- Smith, T., McEachin, J., & Lovaas, O. I. (1993). Comments on replication and evaluation of outcome. American Journal on Mental Retardation, 97, 385–391.
- Early Intervention Project: Can Its Claims Be Substantiated and Its Effects Replicated?
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Volume 28, Issue 1 , pp 5-13
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Kluwer Academic Publishers-Plenum Publishers
- Additional Links
- Early intervention
- experimental validity
- Industry Sectors