Institute of Neuroscience

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Early intervention can have long term benefits for children with autism

Researchers have found that teaching parents enhanced communication skills to interact with their children showed benefits 6 years later

Individuals with autism spectrum disorder are often characterised by deficits in speech and interacting with people and the world around them.  There is no cure and there are no drug treatments for autism but research is showing that behavioural interventions can be very effective for some symptoms.

In this study, speech and language therapists worked with parents of children aged between 2-4years with autism. They taught parents highly specialised communication strategies which are usually only know to- and used by experts. They showed parents how to employ these strategies when interacting with their children as part of their everyday routine. They were compared with a similar group who received standard treatments. Both groups were matched so they had the same severity of symptoms. Six years later children were assessed at specialist centres in Newcastle, Manchester and London. The group who received the standard treatment showed little change in the severity of their symptoms. However the group that received the new intervention showed their symptoms had significantly decreased. 

You can read the full press release on the Newcastle University press office website and read the scientific article in the Lancet

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