Autism TreatmentAutism Information for Parents, Practitioners & Professionals…

Autism Information for Parents, Practitioners & Professionals…

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Rebuttal to False Conclusion that Early Autism Diagnosis and Intervention Does NOT lead to Improved Outcomes

The field of autism research and services seems to be fighting a relentless uphill battle against various forces keen on denying children with autism effective services that change the course of their lives. Most of those forces have been insurance companies and government health care funding programs attempting to minimize their costs by denying services to children with autism, regardless of the consequences. University-affiliated individuals with contracts with the US federal MEDICAID program have been employed to conduct research which has attempted to demonstrate early intensive behavioral intervention services are ineffective.

The latest salvo is contained in an article by
. Fernell E, Eriksson MA, Gillberg C. Clin Epidemiol. 2013;5:33-43. doi: 10.2147/CLEP.S41714. Epub 2013 Feb 21.l who conclude that There is limited evidence that any of the broadband "early intervention" programs are effective in changing the natural long-term outcome for many individuals with an early diagnosis of autism."

We have known since 1973 only 1-2% of children with ASDs develop skills similar to same age peers by school age without intervention, directly opposite the claim in this article.
In my recent review article (Thompson, 2013) I noted, “In a longitudinal follow-up article, DeMyer et al. (1973) found that ‘Most autistic children remained educationally retarded and 42% were institutionalized…. (their findings) indicated the following prognosis in autism: 1–2% recovery to normal, 5–15% borderline, 16–25% fair, and 60–75% poor’. Other than being higher functioning at intake, nothing else predicted a better outcome.” (DeMyer M. K., Barton S., DeMyer W. E., Norton J. A., Allen J.& Steele R. (1973) Prognosis in autism: a follow-up study. Journal of Autism Child Schizophrenia 3, 199–246.) Nearly all studies conducted over the past 20 years using EIBI have shown 40-50% of children who receive such services beginning between 2-5 years of age function similarly to their neuroptypical peers by 6 or 7 years of age.] See Thompson, T. (2013) Autism research and services for young children: history, progress and challenges. J Appl Res Intellect Disabil. 2013 Mar;26(2):81-107. doi: 10.1111/jar.12021

Be prepared to respond to this latest volley with your school districts, insurance companies and state agencies which are likely to use it as an excuse to deny your children services.