A study on infants with early behavioral signs of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) found that preemptive intervention therapy led to significant reduction in the severity of the symptoms in early childhood. Infants with preemptive intervention had lower odds of meeting diagnostic criteria (7%) than those who received usual care (21%) at 3 years of age.
The randomised clinical study titled ‘Effect of Preemptive Intervention on Developmental Outcomes Among Infants Showing Early Signs of Autism’ was conducted on 103 infants who showed early behavioral signs of ASD. It was recently published in JAMA Pediatrics. It is aimed at determining the efficacy of a preemptive intervention for ASD beginning during the prodromal period.
Andrew JO Whitehouse, the lead author of the study said, “In this randomized clinical trial, the combination of a significant treatment effect with maintenance up to 18 months after intervention provides initial evidence of efficacy for a new clinical model that uses a specific developmentally focused intervention among infants at a higher likelihood of developing ASD.” He explains that a cost-effectiveness analysis of the entire treatment pathway and modeling of longer-term childhood and adulthood outcomes is an important next step to determine the feasibility and value of this clinical model.
The study was conducted at two research centers in Australia (Perth and Melbourne). The subjects, aged between 9 to 14 months, were recruited via community sampling. They were then randomized to receive either preemptive intervention in addition to usual care or just usual care over a period of 5 months to arrive at the conclusions.