A Longitudinal Study of Language Trajectories and Treatment Outcomes of Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention for Autism

Abstract

The present study examined language trajectories and placement outcomes for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) receiving early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI). Language measures were collected at baseline and 6, 12, 18, 24, and 36 months or until exit from EIBI in 131 children with ASD. Growth models estimated overall and subgroup language trajectories. Overall, children receiving EIBI showed substantial increases in language relative to normative expectations. Earlier age at EIBI start, higher baseline cognitive function, and lower baseline ASD severity predicted better language trajectories. Although there was significant variability in language trajectories and educational outcomes, most children showed significant increases in language scores, relative to normative expectations. Additional research, in more representative samples, is needed to understand this variability.

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Acknowledgments

We are grateful to the participants in this study and thank our clinical research staff for their data collection and data reduction.

Funding

This study was made possible by a generous donation from the Stephan and Allison Cole Family Research Fund (to TWF). Dr. Frazier’s participation was also supported by Autism Speaks and the Hartwell Foundation. The funding source had no role in the design, conduct, analysis, interpretation, or writing for the present manuscript.

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TWF had full access to all the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. TWF was responsible for study concept and design, as well as the acquisition of data. TWF and EAY were responsible for statistical analysis and all authors were responsible for interpretation of the data. TWF drafted the initial manuscript and all authors were responsible for critical revision of the manuscript. All authors provided final approval of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Thomas W. Frazier.

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Conflict of interest

TWF has received funding or research support from, acted as a consultant to, received travel support from, and/or received a speaker’s honorarium from Quadrant Biosciences, Impel NeuroPharma, F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG Pharmaceuticals, the Cole Family Research Fund, Simons Foundation, Ingalls Foundation, Forest Laboratories, Ecoeos, IntegraGen, Kugona LLC, Shire Development, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Roche Pharma, National Institutes of Health, and the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation and has an investor stake in Autism EYES LLC. EWK has received support from Kugona LLC. EAY has consulted with Pearson, Lundbeck, Janssen, Joe Startup Technologies, and Western Psychological Services about psychological assessment, and received royalties from the American Psychological Association and Guilford Press. AYH has received research funding from Forest Pharmaceuticals and Bristol Myers Squibb and is a consultant to IntegraGen. GWG has consulted to Autism Speaks.

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This project was a secondary analysis of clinical data collected as part of routine practice. The local institutional review board reviewed and approved the creation of a database containing the clinical data for future research use including the analyses conducted for this study.

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As the data were collected as part of routine clinical practice, consent was not obtained but all patients at the site provide consent for clinical data collection as part of their clinic visit. The authors certify that the study was performed in accordance with the ethical standards as laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments.

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Frazier, T.W., Klingemier, E.W., Anderson, C.J. et al. A Longitudinal Study of Language Trajectories and Treatment Outcomes of Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention for Autism. J Autism Dev Disord (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-021-04900-5

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Keywords

  • Applied behavior analysis
  • Language
  • Outcomes
  • Education
  • Growth model
  • Prediction