Parental Early Intervention More Effective than Clinician


Research from Florida State University recently published a study demonstrating that early intervention from parental involvement proved to be more effective in helping the development of autistic children over early clinician involvement.

Amy Wetherby, the director of Autism institute at Florida State University College of Medicine and lead author of the Pediatrics study stated, “we’ve come up with a treatment model that can teach parents to support their child’s learning during everyday activities, and we’ve documented that the children improved their developmental level, social communication skills, and autism symptoms.”

“The findings are important because this treatment is viable for any community. We have early intervention that’s federally and state funded. Now we’ve tested a model that any early intervention system should be able to offer to all families of toddlers with autism. It’s affordable, and it’s efficient in terms of clinicians’ time.”

Most children in the United States are not diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder until they are 4 years old. In lower income families, rural communities, and minority populations, the diagnosis usually comes even later. The American Academy of Pediatrics aims to see that every child is screened at 18 and 24 months of age to determine whether or not the child is on the autism spectrum.

Early diagnosis is a critical part of the early intervention process.

The study focused on “Parent-Implemented Social Intervention for Toddlers with Autism.” It demonstrated the results from a seven-year randomized controlled trial. The study involved families of 82 toddlers with ASD who were 18 months old. The families were assigned to one of two nine-month interventions.

Out of the two groups studied, both improved behaviors over the duration of the training in using words and in decreasing autism symptoms, but overall, the group of parents that received individual instruction on how to work one-on-one with their child for 20-25 hours a week in everyday activities demonstrated the best results. Some of the day-to-day activities included making meals, going out into the community, playing on the playground, and grocery store visits.

Wetherby stated that, “we tried to help parents make interactions fun and fruitful learning moments. But we also taught the parents how to push their child—because their child has autism, and we are finding these children at this very critical moment when their brain is more able to learn. If the parent can start early, then we are more likely to change the child’s trajectory of learning for the rest of their life.”

You can read more about Wetherby’s study here.

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One Comment

  1. CurtisBind
    Posted April 8, 2017 at 4:50 am | Permalink


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