Early Intervention in Autism


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Abstract

We now know that professionals can diagnose children with autism when they are as young as 2 years of age (Lord, 1995). Screening and the role of the pediatrician have become even more critical as we have recognized the stability of early diagnosis over time and the importance of early intervention. At this point, experts working with children with autism agree that early intervention is critical. There is professional consensus about certain crucial aspects of treatment (intensity, family involvement, focus on generalization) and empirical evidence for certain intervention strategies. However, there are many programs developed for children with autism that differ in philosophy and a lack of research comparing the various intervention programs. Most of the programs for children with autism that exist are designed for children of preschool age, and not all are widely known or available. While outcome data are published for some of these programs, empirical studies comparing intervention programs are lacking. In this review, existing intervention programs and empirical studies on these programs will be reviewed, with a particular emphasis on the birth to 3 age group.

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