This study followed children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) from early intervention into their early schooling years, when they were aged between 6 and 9 years, on autism symptom severity and cognitive functioning. The children, matched at pre-intervention, were compared on type of community provided service: 31 were in receipt of community-based group Early Start Denver Model and 28 had received other community provisions for ASD. Irrespective of groups, cognitive functioning was found to have significantly improved by school age compared to pre-intervention. Autism symptom severity increased during the same developmental period, seemingly driven by an increase in restricted and repetitive behaviours over time. In contrast, both groups displayed improved social affect by school age.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Akshoomoff, N. (2006). Use of the Mullen Scales of Early Learning for the assessment of young children with autism spectrum disorders. Child Neuropsychology, 12(4–5), 269–277. https://doi.org/10.1080/09297040500473714.
American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, text revised (4th Edn.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th Edn.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association.
Australian Government. (2010). Early Learning and Care Centres Program Guidelines. Retrieved May 4, 2017, from https://www.dss.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/06_2015/early_learning_and_care_centres_program_guidelines.pdf.
Barbaro, J., & Dissanayake, C. (2013). Early markers of autism spectrum disorders in infants and toddlers prospectively identified in the Social Attention and Communication Study. Autism, 17(1), 64–86. https://doi.org/10.1177/1362361312442597.
Boyd, B. A., Hume, K., McBee, M. T., Alessandri, M., Gutierrez, A., Johnson, L., … Odom, S. L. (2014). Comparative efficacy of LEAP, TEACCH and non-model-specific special education programs for preschoolers with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 44(2), 366–380. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-013-1877-9.
Burns, T. G., King, T. Z., & Spencer, K. S. (2012). Mullen Scales of Early Learning: The utility in assessing children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, and epilepsy. Applied Neuropsychology, 2(1), 33–42. https://doi.org/10.1080/21622965.2012.682852.
Clark, M. L. E., Barbaro, J., & Dissanayake, C. (2017). Continuity and change in cognition and autism severity from toddlerhood to school age. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 47(2), 328–339. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-016-2954-7.
Clark, M. L. E., Vinen, Z., Barbaro, J., & Dissanayake, C. (2017). School age outcomes of children diagnosed early and later with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-017-3279-x.
Dawson, G., Rogers, S., Munson, J., Smith, M., Winter, J., Greenson, J., … Varley, J. (2010). Randomized, controlled trial of an intervention for toddlers with autism: The Early Start Denver Model. Pediatrics, 125(1), 17–23. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2009-0958.
Eapen, V., Črnčec, R., & Walter, A. (2013). Clinical outcomes of an early intervention program for preschool children with autism spectrum disorder in a community group setting. BMC Pediatrics, 13(3). https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2431-13-3.
Estes, A., Munson, J., Rogers, S. J., Greenson, J., Winter, J., & Dawson, G. (2015). Long-term outcomes of early intervention in 6-year-old children with autism spectrum disorder. Adolescent Psychiatry, 54(7), 580–587. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2015.04.005.
Frost, L. A., & Bondy, A. S. (1994). The picture exchange communication system training manual. Cherry Hill, NJ: PECs, Inc.
Gotham, K., Risi, S., Pickles, A., & Lord, C. (2007). The autism diagnostic observation schedule: Revised algorithms for improved diagnostic validity. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37(4), 613–627. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-006-0280-1.
Granpeesheh, D., Dixon, D. R., Tarbox, J., Kaplan, A. M., & Wilke, A. E. (2009). The effects of age and treatment intensity on behavioral intervention outcomes for children with autism spectrum disorders. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 3(4), 1014–1022. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rasd.2009.06.007.
Hayward, D., Eikeseth, S., Gale, C., & Morgan, S. (2009). Assessing progress during treatment for young children with autism receiving intensive behavioural interventions. Autism, 13(6), 613–633. https://doi.org/10.1177/1362361309340029.
Hume, K., Boyd, B., McBee, M., Coman, D., Gutierrez, A., Shaw, E. … Odom, S. (2011). Assessing implementation of comprehensive treatment models for young children with ASD: Reliability and validity of two measures. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 5(4), 1430–1440. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rasd.2011.02.002.
Lincoln, A. J., Allen, M. H., & Kilman, A. (1995). The assessment and interpretation of intellectual abilities in people with autism. In E. Schopler & G. B. Mesibov (Eds.), Learning and cognition in autism (pp. 89–117). New York: Springer.
Lord, C., Risi, S., Lambrecht, L., Cook, E. Jr., Leventhal, B., DiLavore, P., … Rutter, M. (2000). The autism diagnostic observation schedule—generic: A standard measure of social and communication deficits associated with the spectrum of autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 30(3), 205–223. https://doi.org/10.1023/a:1005592401947.
Lord, C., Rutter, M., DiLavore, P. C., & Risi, S. (2002). Autism diagnostic observation schedule manual. Los Angeles, CA: Western Psychological Services.
Lord, C., Rutter, M., DiLavore, P. C., Risi, S., Gotham, K., & Bishop, S. L. (2012). Autism diagnostic observation schedule: ADOS-2. CA: Western Psychological Services.
Lord, C., Rutter, M., & Le Couteur, A. (1994). Autism diagnostic interview-revised: A revised version of a diagnostic interview for caregivers of individuals with possible pervasive developmental disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 24(5), 659–685. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02172145.
Mayes, S. D., & Calhoun, S. L. (2003). Analysis of WISC-III, Stanford-Binet: IV, and academic achievement test scores in children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 33(3), 329–341. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1024462719081.
Mullen, E. M. (1995). Mullen scales of early learning manual. Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Service.
Paynter, J. M., Riley, E. P., Beamish, W., Scott, J. G., & Heussler, H. S. (2015). Brief report: An evaluation of an Australian autism-specific, early intervention programme. International Journal of Special Education, 30(2), 13–19.
Perry, A., Cummings, A., Geier, J. D., Freeman, N. L., Hughes, S., Managhan, T., … Williams, J. (2011). Predictors of outcome for children receiving intensive behavioral intervention in a large, community-based program. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 5(1), 592–603. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rasd.2010.07.003.
Prior, M., Roberts, J. M. A., Rodger, S., & Williams, K. (2011). A review of the research to identify the most effective models of practice in early intervention of children with autism spectrum disorders. Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Australia.
Productivity Commission. (2011). Disability care and support (Report no. 54). Canberra: Productivity Commission.
Reichow, B. (2012). Overview of meta-analyses on early intensive behavioral intervention for young children with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42(4), 512–520. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-011-1218-9.
Rogers, S. (2013). Early Start Denver Model. In F. R. Volkmar (Ed.), Encyclodedia of autism spectrum disorders. New York: Springer Publishing.
Rogers, S. J., & Dawson, G. (2010). Early Start Denver Model for young children with autism: Promoting language, learning, and engagement. New York: The Gilford Press.
Rogers, S. J., Dawson, G., & Vismara, L. A. (2012). An early start for your child with autism: Using everyday activities to help kids connect, communicate, and learn. New York: The Guilford Press.
Rutter, M., Bailey, A., & Lord, C. (2003). Social communication questionnaire (SCQ). Los Angeles, CA: Western Psychological Services.
Sallows, G. O., & Graupner, T. D. (2005). Intensive behavioral treatment for children with autism: Four-year outcome and predictors. American Journal on Mental Retardation, 110(6), 417–438. https://doi.org/10.1352/0895-8017(2005)110[417:IBTFCW]2.0.CO;2
Schopler, E. (1994). A statewide program for the Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication Handicapped Children (TEACCH). Psychoses and Pervasive Developmental Disorders, 3, 91–103.
Schreibman, L., Dawson, G., Stahmer, A. C., et al. (2015). Naturalistic developmental behavioral interventions: Empirically validated treatments for autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45(8), 2411–2428. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-015-2407-8.
Smith, T., & Iadarola, S. (2015). Evidence base update for autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 44(6), 897–922. https://doi.org/10.1080/15374416.2015.1077448.
Smith, T., Groen, A. D., & Wynn, J. W. (2000). Randomized trial of intensive early intervention for children with pervasive developmental disorder. American Journal of Mental Retardation, 105(4), 269–285. https://doi.org/10.1352/0895-8017(2000)105<0269:RTOIEI>2.0.CO;2
Starr, E. M., Popovic, S., & McCall, B. P. (2016). Supporting children with autism spectrum disorder at primary school: Are the promises of early intervention maintained? Current Developmental Disorders Reports, 3(1), 46–56. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40474-016-0069-7.
Vivanti, G., Duncan, E., Dawson, G., & Rogers, S. J. (2017). Implementing the group-based Early Start Denver Model for preschoolers with autism. New York: Springer.
Vivanti, G., Manzi, B., Benvenuto, A., Battan, B., & Curatolo, P. (2011). An Italian prospective study on autism treatment: The earlier, the better?. Autism. https://doi.org/10.4172/2165-7890.1000102.
Vivanti, G., Paynter, J., Duncan, E., Fothergill, H., Dissanayake, C., & Rogers, S. J. (2014). Feasibility and effectiveness of the Early Start Denver Model implemented in a group-based community childcare setting. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 44(12), 3140–3153. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-014-2168-9.
Warren, Z., McPheeters, M. L., Sathe, N., Foss-Feig, J. H., Glasser, A., & Veenstra-VanderWeele, J. (2011). A systematic review of early intensive intervention for autism spectrum disorders. Pediatrics, 127(5), 1303–1311. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2011-0426.
Wechsler, D. (1999). Wechsler abbreviated scale of intelligence. San Antonio, TX: The Psychological Corporation.
Wechsler, D. (2011). Wechsler abbreviated scale of intelligence (2nd Edn.). San Antonio, TX: Pearson.
We thank Dr Giacomo Vivanti, the team at the Victorian Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centre (ASELCC), Victoria, Australia, and the AEIOU Foundation (AEIOU), Queensland, Australia, for their contribution.
All authors made a considerable contribution to the conception, design, drafting, and revising of the paper prior to publication. Authors have been listed in order of their contribution.
Research materials related to the paper may be accessed by contacting the corresponding author.
This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
About this article
Cite this article
Vinen, Z., Clark, M., Paynter, J. et al. School Age Outcomes of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Who Received Community-Based Early Interventions. J Autism Dev Disord 48, 1673–1683 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-017-3414-8
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Early Start Denver Model
- Early intervention
- School age