Early Intervention

Children With Autism Benefit from Early, Intensive Therapy

Source: 
Science Daily
Date Published: 
September 28, 2011
Abstract: 

A primary characteristic of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is impairments in social-communication skills. Children and adolescents with social-communication problems face difficulty understanding, interacting and relating with others. University of Missouri researchers found that children who receive more intensive therapy to combat these impairments, especially at early ages, achieve the best outcomes.

Detecting, Studying, and Treating Autism Early: The One-Year Well-Baby Check-Up Approach

Source: 
Journal of Pediatrics
Date Published: 
September 2011
Year Published: 
2011
A five-minute checklist filled out by parents at the one-year, well-baby check-up has been shown to predict autism or other developmental delays in about 75 percent of cases. This easily implemented tool is the first validated autism screen for infants and could help pediatricians identify autism even earlier than the evaluations at 18 and 24 months of age recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The screening tool, called the Communication and Symbolic Behavior Scales Developmental Profile Infant-Toddler Checklist, developed by Dr. Amy Wetherby and colleagues, was filled out by parents in the waiting room and took pediatricians only two minutes to review, providing a quick way to identify young children at risk for ASD. The study followed 137 pediatricians in San Diego County who used the tool to screen almost 10,500 infants. About 12 percent of infants screened were flagged by the questionnaire as at-risk for ASD and referred for further evaluation at a clinic. The study followed 184 infants who failed the screen until three years of age and found that 17 percent (32 children) ultimately received an autism diagnosis. Of the remaining children, 30 percent were identified as having a learning disability, 5 percent with a developmental disability, and 20 percent as another type of disability. Overall, the screen yielded about a 30 percent false-positive rate, meaning that 1 out of 3 infants flagged as at-risk during the initial screen did not subsequently receive a developmental disorder diagnosis. The findings demonstrate that the checklist is a convenient and effective screen for autism and other disabilities at the one-year, well-baby check-up – improving the chances of early detection and increasing the opportunity for early intervention. Notably, all 137 pediatricians who participated in the study were still using the checklist when the article was published -- a significant improvement from the only 22 percent who were screening at one-year check-ups prior to the study.
--IACC 2011 Summary of Advances in ASD Research

Animal Model Research Could Lead To The Development Of Diagnostic Tests For Autism Based On Biomarkers

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
September 14, 2011
Abstract: 

The first transgenic mouse model of a rare and severe type of autism called Timothy Syndrome is improving the scientific understanding of autism spectrum disorder in general and may help researchers design more targeted interventions and treatments.

Infants Given A Social Jump Start By Early Motor Experiences: Study Indicates Infants At Risk For Autism Could Benefit From Motor Training

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
September 12, 2011
Abstract: 

In a new study published in the journal Developmental Science (Epub ahead of print), researchers from the Kennedy Krieger Institute and Vanderbilt University found that early motor experiences can shape infants' preferences for objects and faces. The study findings demonstrate that providing infants with "sticky mittens" to manipulate toys increases their subsequent interest in faces, suggesting advanced social development.

This study supports a growing body of evidence that early motor development and self-produced motor experiences contribute to infants' understanding of the social world around them. Conversely, this implies that when motor skills are delayed or impaired - as in autism - future social interactions and development could be negatively impacted.

Early motor experiences can shape infants' preferences for objects and faces

Source: 
News Medical
Date Published: 
September 9, 2011
Abstract: 

In a new study published today in the journal Developmental Science, researchers from the Kennedy Krieger Institute and Vanderbilt University found that early motor experiences can shape infants' preferences for objects and faces. The study findings demonstrate that providing infants with "sticky mittens" to manipulate toys increases their subsequent interest in faces, suggesting advanced social development.

This study supports a growing body of evidence that early motor development and self-produced motor experiences contribute to infants' understanding of the social world around them. Conversely, this implies that when motor skills are delayed or impaired - as in autism - future social interactions and development could be negatively impacted.

Multivariate Searchlight Classification of Structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Children and Adolescents with Autism

Source: 
Biological Psychiatry
Date Published: 
September 5, 2011
Abstract: 

Multiple brain regions, including those belonging to the default mode network, exhibit aberrant structural organization in children with autism. Brain-based biomarkers derived from structural magnetic resonance imaging data may contribute to identification of the neuroanatomical basis of symptom heterogeneity and to the development of targeted early interventions.

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.