Evidence-based comprehensive treatments for early autism

Sally J Rogers, Laurie A. Vismara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

502 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Early intervention for children with autism is currently a politically and scientifically complex topic. Randomized controlled trials have demonstrated positive effects in both short-term and longer term studies. The evidence suggests that early intervention programs are indeed beneficial for children with autism, often improving developmental functioning and decreasing maladaptive behaviors and symptom severity at the level of group analysis. Whether such changes lead to significant improvements in terms of greater independence and vocational and social functioning in adulthood is also unknown. Given the few randomized controlled treatment trials that have been carried out, the few models that have been tested, and the large differences in interventions that are being published, it is clear that the field is still very early in the process of determining (a) what kinds of interventions are most efficacious in early autism, (b) what variables moderate and mediate treatment gains and improved outcomes following intervention, and (c) the degree of both short-term and long-term improvements that can reasonably be expected. To examine these current research needs, the empirical studies of comprehensive treatments for young children with autism published since 1998 were reviewed. Lovaas's treatment meet Chambless and colleague's (Chambless et al., 1998; Chambless et al., 1996) criteria for "well-established" and no treatment meets the "probably efficacious" criteria, though three treatments meet criteria for "possibly efficacious" (Chambless Hollon, 1998). Most studies were either Type 2 or 3 in terms of their methodological rigor based on Nathan and Gorman's (2002) criteria. Implications of these findings are also discussed in relation to practice guidelines as well as critical areas of research that have yet to be answered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-38
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Volume37
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2008

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Autistic Disorder
Therapeutics
Randomized Controlled Trials
Empirical Research
Practice Guidelines
Research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Cite this

Evidence-based comprehensive treatments for early autism. / Rogers, Sally J; Vismara, Laurie A.

In: Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, Vol. 37, No. 1, 01.2008, p. 8-38.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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