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Nov 05

The Importance of Early Intervention and Early Detection By: Kristin Bowman, M.A., CCC-SLP, BCBA

Written by in Applied Behavior Analysis, Awareness, Early Intervention
The Importance of Early Intervention and Early Detection By: Kristin Bowman, M.A., CCC-SLP, BCBA

Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI) is a well documented and effective approach for treating young children with autism spectrum disorders. EIBI is a type of treatment provided to young children, typically before the age of 5, that utilizes the principles of applied behavior analysis to increase skills across multiple areas of development and decrease unwanted behaviors. EIBI is typically continued for several years at 20-40 hours per week. (Reichow, et al, 2012).

Multiple studies have reported EIBI to be an effective treatment for children with autism spectrum disorder. In 2012, Reichow and colleagues compared EIBI to generic special education programs for children with autism spectrum disorders and found that the children who received approximately two years of treatment through an EIBI program performed better on assessments of adaptive behavior, intelligence, social skills, and communication.

A meta-analysis was conducted to identify the impact of EIBI on intelligence and adaptive behavior. Nine studies were included in the meta-analysis and the results indicated consistent improvements in adaptive behavior skills and intelligence quotients following EIBI. (Eldevik, et al, 2009).

Early intensive behavior analytic interventions were compared to two other eclectic or “mixed-method” treatments. Children receiving intensive behavior analytic interventions demonstrated higher performance on measurements of cognitive, language, and adaptive functioning when compared with children receiving treatment from either of the other two approaches. (Howard, et al, 2014).

Decades of research provide evidence of positive developmental outcomes following early intensive behavioral intervention services. Treatment is most effective when it begins as early as possible. One likely reason for the effectiveness at such a young age is the significant amount of neuroplasticity in the brains of toddlers and young children. Thus, making the need for intervention to begin as soon as developmental concerns are noted; even before a child receives a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. (Weatherby, 2008).

In many cases an early diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder is a necessary first step to accessing appropriate treatment services such as early intervention. Parents who have concerns regarding their child’s development, or suspect their child exhibits symptoms of autism spectrum disorder, are strongly encouraged to contact their pediatrician, psychologist, or professionals specializing in the treatment of children with autism spectrum disorder. (Weatherby, 2008).

At Bloom Behavioral Solutions we utilize a multidisciplinary team consisting of board certified behavior analysts, speech-language pathologists, and occupational therapists to address the developmental needs of our young patients. Our Petit Sprouts program was developed specifically for children 2-5 years of age. A plan of care is developed for each child with individualized treatment goals developed based on the results of an assessment using the Verbal Behavior Milestones and Placement Protocol (VB-MAPP). Children receiving services through this program typically receive 25-35 hours a week of therapy. We use evidenced based methods of instruction including discrete trial training and natural environment teaching with an emphasis on increasing verbal behavior. In addition, we offer autism diagnostic evaluations which include a thorough records review of both medical and psychological history and administration of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule – 2nd edition. Please contact us if you have concerns about your child’s development of if you are interested in learning more about our programs and services.

References

Eldevik, S., Hastings, R.P., Hughes, J.C., Erik, J., Svein, E., & Cross, S. (2009). Meta-Analysis of Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention for Children with Autism. Journal of Clinical and Child Adolescent Psychology, 38 (3), 439-450.

Howard, J.S., Stanislaw, H., Green, G., Sparkman, C., & Cohen, H. (2014). Comparison of Behavior Analytic and Eclectic Early Interventions for Young Children With Autism After Three Years. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 35 (12), 3326-3344.

Reichow, B., Barton, E., Boyd, B., & Hume, K. (2012). Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI) for Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The Cochrane Library, October 7, 2012.

Wetherby, A. (2008, July 8). Amy Wetherby Discusses the Importance of Early Autism Detection (Audio Podcast). Retrieved from http://blog.asha.org

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