One in 68 children is on the Autism spectrum, a 30 percent increase in the past two years, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although Autism can be diagnosed as early six months into the child’s life, more often than not children don’t get diagnosed until a much later age. This could be due to the fact that there is no medical test that can diagnose Autism, as well as the fact that many doctors are still unfamiliar with the diagnosis and may dismiss parent concerns. If diagnosing Autism is delayed long enough, the child could miss out on the opportunity to have early intervention therapy.




New studies have begun to show that starting early intervention therapy when the child is a toddler or younger can improve the child’s intellectual ability and reduce Autism symptoms for years to come. A study done in 2015 by University of Washington Autism Center is the first to perform intensive therapy for Autistic children as young as 18 months and look at long-term results. Researchers found that over two years after the early intervention therapy, children continued to progress in overall intellectual ability and language and showed a significant reduction of symptoms.


Though this type of progress has been seen before, this is the first time it had been performed and proven successful for children under the age of 30 months. This therapy, known as the Early Start Denver Model, or ESDM, is a one-on-one intensive therapy which is delivered in the home mainly by the parents. It is designed to enhance the child’s motivation and follow the child’s interests. It has proven to significantly increase IQ, adaptive function, and communication.


“These findings indicate that children who have received the ESDM earlier in their lives continued to progress well with significantly less treatment,” said Sally J. Rogers, a University of California, Davis professor of psychiatry and co-creator of ESDM intervention therapy. “People who are better able to communicate, care for themselves and participate in the workforce at greater levels will need less financial support in their lives.”


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