Impact of Early Intervention on Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders as Measured by Inclusion and Retention in Mainstream Schools

Abstract

Objectives

To follow up the school/educational status of children with a primary diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), who had been enrolled in an Early Intervention (EI) program for 1–3 y, before the age of 6.

Methods

Data was collected through a questionnaire covering three specific areas—the families’ success in following the recommendation given on completion of the EI program, issues in schooling and feedback on the EI program. The contact modes included email, post, telephonic interviews and face-to-face interviews.

Results

One hundred and two of the 296 children responded to the questionnaire. The responses were analyzed to identify, the number of families who had completed the program and were able to follow through with the recommendation given on completion of the EI program, difficulties faced if any, family feedback on the program and the additional help that they would have liked to receive. The reasons for failure to comply with the recommendations were analyzed. Of the 102 children who responded seven had dropped out midway through the program and 10 had discontinued after one year. Of the remaining 85 who completed the program, 71 were advised mainstreaming (83.5 %) and 14 were advised special school (16.5 %). Sixty-five of the 71 children, who were advised to enroll their child in the mainstream, were in regular school. 76.5 % of the children who completed the EI program were integrated in regular schools, 2 to 7 y after having completed the program.

Conclusions

EI helps in enrolment and retention of substantial numbers of children with ASD in mainstream schools.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank Navajbai Ratan Tata Trust for providing the financial support to employ a research assistant for this study. They would like to thank Lathina Lawrence who served as the Research Assistant for collection of data, Dr Subbakrishna for guidance in statistical analysis and all of the staff of Com DEALL at Bangalore—past and present for their contribution to the success of the children.

Conflict of Interest

None.

Role of Funding Source

Funding was provided to cover the salary of the Research Assistant employed for the project.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Prathibha Karanth.

Appendix 1

Appendix 1

Follow up questionnaire- 1 -

Dear Mr. & Mrs.,

Greetings from The Com DEALL Trust!

We trust this letter finds both of you and your child, well.

We, at the Com DEALL Trust are interested in following up the overall progress of the children who were enrolled in our program, since its inception in November 2000; in order to strengthen the program further with your feedback. We would be grateful if you would please take a few moments to fill out the follow up questionnaire. Your feedback is important to us. Thank you in advance for your time and input.

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Karanth, P., Chandhok, T.S. Impact of Early Intervention on Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders as Measured by Inclusion and Retention in Mainstream Schools. Indian J Pediatr 80, 911–919 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12098-013-1014-y

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Keywords

  • Autism
  • Early intervention
  • Impact
  • Mainstreaming