Early Intervention Helps Autistic Children

According to a recent study, children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder can benefit from early intervention as early as 18 months. The study, out of the UC Davis MIND Institute in Sacramento, California says that certain early interventions can boost the social skills and brain activity in children, essentially “normalizing” the working of a child’s brain.

The study divided children with autism spectrum disorder, where one group received specific early intervention know as Early Start Denver Model (ESDM), while the other children did not receive this specific intervention, but rather, other types of community-based support.  The children who underwent the ESDM model, which requires 20 hours of specific therapies per week for more than two years, showed a marked difference in how their brains functioned after completing the program.  In fact, 73% of children who received ESDM showed responses that were equal to children without autism, while only 5% of children who did not receive ESDM showed normal brain.

Statistics out of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that 1 in 88 children born will be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, with more that half of those being boys. Children with this disorder often have problems communicating socially and relating to people, but because the brains of infants are so malleable, there is greater potential to improve their outcome with early intervention.

This is the first study of its kind that shows how early intervention that combines play-based, developmental and relations-based methods and techniques can help to “normalize” the development of the brain of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

Source: Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, October 27, 2012

 

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