Improving I.Q. for Autistic Toddlers

An exciting new study has shown that an intensive behavioral intervention raises the I.Q. level of toddlers diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  This study, reported by Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, compared 48 children diagnosed with ASD by placing the children in one of two controlled groups.

Early Start Denver Model (EDSM)–for Young Children with Autism

According to Pediatrics, the study assigned the children into one of two groups:

  1. ESDM intervention, which is based on developmental and applied behavioral analytic principles and delivered by trained therapists and parents for 2 years; or
  2. referral to community providers for intervention commonly available in the community.

The results showed much greater gains for the intensive EDSM intervention as opposed to the community intervention.

An Interview with the Studies’ Author

The NYTimes Health section blogged about this study recently.  Tara Parker-Pope interviewed one of the developers of this new intervention, Sally J. Rogers, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of California, Davis.  Dr. Rogers describes the new intervention as playful and interactive as opposed to adult instructional and further discusses how this new method might work with an autistic child.  The full interview can be found here.

The Book

Early Start Denver Model for Young Children with Autism: Promoting Language, Learning, and Engagement became available at the end of December.  Additionally, many of the resources can be found online at  The Early Developmental Studies Lab. I can only hope that the reality lives up to the promise.


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