The goal of early autism screening is earlier treatment. We pilot-tested a 12-week, low-intensity treatment with seven symptomatic infants ages 7–15 months. Parents mastered the intervention and maintained skills after treatment ended. Four comparison groups were matched from a study of infant siblings. The treated group of infants was significantly more symptomatic than most of the comparison groups at 9 months of age but was significantly less symptomatic than the two most affected groups between 18 and 36 months. At 36 months, the treated group had much lower rates of both ASD and DQs under 70 than a similarly symptomatic group who did not enroll in the treatment study. It appears feasible to identify and enroll symptomatic infants in parent-implemented intervention before 12 months, and the pilot study outcomes are promising, but testing the treatment’s efficacy awaits a randomized trial.
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This project was funded by grants from NICHD/NIMH (R21 HD065275: Rogers R01 MH068398: Ozonoff) and support from Autism Speaks and the John and Marcia Goldman Foundation. The authors would like to acknowledge SoYeon Baik for her assistance with nearly every aspect of the project, Diane Larzelere for her assistance with manuscript preparation, and the children and families who gave of their time to participate in the study.
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Rogers, S.J., Vismara, L., Wagner, A.L. et al. Autism Treatment in the First Year of Life: A Pilot Study of Infant Start, a Parent-Implemented Intervention for Symptomatic Infants. J Autism Dev Disord 44, 2981–2995 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-014-2202-y
- Early intervention
- Early Start Denver Model