Autistic Children Improve IQ and Social Skills With Reflective Network Therapy

Reflective Network Therapy

The results are in on a 49-year long multi-site study on the effectiveness of Reflective Network Therapy (RNT), and indicate a significant rise of IQ in children with autism spectrum disorders.  Led by Gilbert Kliman, M.D. of The Children’s Psychological Health Center in Santa Rosa and San Francisco, California, the study also maps improvements with social skills, communication, and more positive general behavior.

1700 preschoolers were treated with RNT since 1965, 680 of who were diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Third-party researchers conducted IQ tests on 31 autistic children (79 total) twice over the course of their Reflective Network Therapy. The children with autism showed some of the highest gains, with an average increase of 24 IQ points. Comparable research on other forms of therapy for autism and other pervasive developmental delays showed no significant change to IQ.

Reflective Network Therapy “harnesses small social networks in the classroom, composed of parents, teachers, in-classroom therapist, and peers,” explains Dr. Kliman, a pioneer of RNT. The focused therapy of one child at a time, in the presence of their peers allows therapists, teachers, and parents to react as a team to behavior and allows classmates to process and mirror their peers’ progress and behavior. “It provides intensive interpersonal exercises within the child’s own preschool class on hundreds of occasions during the course of a school year,” continues Dr. Kliman, “and could save public special education systems, parents, and insurers millions of dollars for every ten children receiving treatment.” Dr. Kliman estimates the cost of RNT to be approximately 1/6th the cost of traditional therapies.

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