Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 778–794 | Cite as

Feasibility and Effectiveness of Very Early Intervention for Infants At-Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review

  • Jessica BradshawEmail author
  • Amanda Mossman Steiner
  • Grace Gengoux
  • Lynn Kern Koegel
Original Paper


Early detection methods for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in infancy are rapidly advancing, yet the development of interventions for infants under two years with or at-risk for ASD remains limited. In order to guide research and practice, this paper systematically reviewed studies investigating interventions for infants under 24 months with or at-risk for ASD. Nine studies were identified and evaluated for: (a) participants, (b) intervention approach (c) experimental design, and (d) outcomes. Studies that collected parent measures reported positive findings for parent acceptability, satisfaction, and improvement in parent implementation of treatment. Infant gains in social-communicative and developmental skills were observed following intervention in most of the reviewed studies, while comparisons with treatment-as-usual control groups elucidate the need for further research. These studies highlight the feasibility of very early intervention and provide preliminary evidence that intervention for at-risk infants may be beneficial for infants and parents.


Autism Early intervention Infancy High-risk infants Treatment 



This study was not directly funded, however conceptualization for this article was aided by a predoctoral fellowship awarded to the first author by the Autism Science Foundation (11-1014). We would like to express our appreciation to all families who continue to dedicate their time to autism research.

Supplementary material

10803_2014_2235_MOESM1_ESM.docx (15 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 15 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jessica Bradshaw
    • 1
    Email author
  • Amanda Mossman Steiner
    • 3
  • Grace Gengoux
    • 2
  • Lynn Kern Koegel
    • 1
  1. 1.Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology Department, Koegel Autism Center, Graduate School of EducationUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA
  3. 3.SIERRA KidsSacramentoUSA

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