Early Intervention

Distinct features of autistic brain revealed in novel Stanford/Packard analysis of MRI scans

Source: 
Stanford University
Date Published: 
September 2, 2011
Abstract: 

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital have used a novel method for analyzing brain-scan data to distinguish children with autism from typically developing children. Their discovery reveals that the gray matter in a network of brain regions known to affect social communication and self-related thoughts has a distinct organization in people with autism.

Autism Risk for Siblings Higher Than Expected

Source: 
New York Times - Well Blog
Date Published: 
August 16, 2011
Abstract: 

According to a recent study published in the journal of Pediatrics, the younger sibling of a child with autism has nearly 20 times greater risk of developing autism than a child in the general population.

Randomized, Controlled Trial of the LEAP Model of Early Intervention for Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Source: 
Topics in Early Childhood Special Education
Date Published: 
May 25, 2011
Year Published: 
2011

 

A 2011 study supports the effectiveness of an early intervention model for autism spectrum disorder designed to be used in an integrated classroom. Randomized controlled trials are considered to be the gold standard of evidence; however, due to their complexity and cost, only four other RCTs of comprehensive interventions for young children with autism had been completed at the time this article was published. Of these four, all were tested in segregated environments and involved one-on-one instruction at the beginning of the intervention. In contrast, the LEAP (Learning Experiences and Alternative Program for Preschoolers and Their Parents) preschool model uses teaching opportunities that arise naturally in an integrated setting and incorporates typically developing students by training them to support the social skills development of their peers with ASD. The LEAP model is also the first evidence-based intervention for ASD to be tested in a public school setting. In the study, researchers compared the performance of students in 28 classrooms where teachers received personal training and coaching support in the LEAP model over two years to the performance of teachers in 28 classrooms who received only training manuals and written materials. While all children had equivalent skill levels at the start of the intervention, after two years the students in the coached classrooms showed marked improvement in symptoms of autism, cognitive scores, language development, social skills, and a reduction in problem behavior. The teachers' fidelity to the LEAP strategies predicted the students' level of improvement. These findings suggest that successfully adhering to LEAP strategies produces broad developmental improvements. It costs much less than other commonly used one-on-one strategies -- an estimated $20,000 per child annually compared to $45,000 - $69,000.

--IACC 2011 Summary of Advances in ASD Research

 

New checklist could detect autism by age 1

Source: 
USA Today
Date Published: 
April 28. 2011
Abstract: 

An early screening test for autism, designed to detect signs of the condition in babies as young as 1 year old, could revolutionize the care of autistic children, experts say, by getting them diagnosed and treated years earlier than usual. The checklist — available online now — asks parents or other caregivers about their child's communication skills, from babbling and first words to eye contact.

Socioeconomics Playing Reduced Role in Autism Diagnoses

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
April 6, 2011
Abstract: 

While there is an increasing equality in terms of the likelihood that children from communities and families across the socioeconomic spectrum will be diagnosed with autism, a new study finds that such factors still influence the chance of an autism diagnosis, though to a much lesser extent than they did at the height of rising prevalence.

Treatments Show Promise in Reducing Autism-related Behaviors, but Some have Significant Side Effects

Source: 
Agency for Heathcare Research and Quality
Date Published: 
April 4, 2011
Abstract: 

Some medical and behavioral treatments show promise for reducing certain behaviors in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), but more research is needed to assess the potential benefits and harms, according to a new report funded by HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The research results were published online in the journal Pediatrics.

A Systematic Review of Early Intensive Intervention for Autism Spectrum Disorders

Source: 
Pediatrics
Date Published: 
April 2011
Year Published: 
2011

Researchers at Vanderbilt University reviewed the effectiveness of early intervention programs for children aged 12 and younger with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). Overall, the strength of the evidence ranged from insufficient to low. Studies performed at the University of California Los Angeles /Lovaas-based interventions and variants reported clinically significant gains in language and cognitive skills in some children, as did 1 randomized control trial of an early intensive developmental intervention approach (the Early Start Denver Model). Data suggests that subgroups of children displayed more prominent gains across studies, but common characteristics of those who experienced greater gains are not understood. Studies into the effectiveness of Early Intervention programs demonstrated some progress in cognitive performance, language skills, and adaptive behavior skills in some young children with ASDs, but there is limited literature available on the topic.

Misreading Faces Tied to Child Social Anxiety

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
April 1, 2011
Abstract: 

Children suffering from extreme social anxiety are trapped in a nightmare of misinterpreted facial expressions: They confuse angry faces with sad ones, a new study shows.

Catching Autism Symptoms Early to Enable Effective Preventative Interventions Through Play

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
March 23, 2011
Abstract: 

Toddlers who played with a limited number of toys showed more improvement in their communication skills following parent-guided treatment than those receiving other community-based treatments.

Children With Autistic Traits Remain Undiagnosed

Source: 
Science Daily
Date Published: 
March 22, 2010
Abstract: 

There has been a major increase in the incidence of autism over the last twenty years. While people have differing opinions as to why this is (environment, vaccines, mother's age, better diagnostic practice, more awareness etc.) there are still many children who have autistic traits that are never diagnosed clinically. Therefore, they do not receive the support they need through educational or health services.