Autism Partnership’s Research Department is proud to announce:
EDUCATION AND TREATMENT OF CHILDREN
Vol. 34, No.2, May 2011, Pages 259–285
A Program Description of a Community-Based
Intensive Behavioral Intervention Program for
Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Ronald B. Leaf, Ph.D, Mitchell T. Taubman, Ph.D, John J. McEachin, Ph.D,
Justin B. Leaf, Ph.D and Kathleen H.Tsuji of Autism Partnership
Clinicians at Autism Partnership, a community-based treatment program in Southern California reported, in a preliminary analysis, outcomes for a group of 64 children with autism ranging in age from 13 months to 8 years old. The children received intensive behavior treatment at the main clinic in the US, or in one of the satellite clinics in the United Kingdom, Australia and Hong Kong. Treatment occurred in clinics, homes, in the community and at schools, lasting an average of 3 1/2 years.
The Results Demonstrated:
The data shows that 45 out of 64 children in the study made such remarkable progress that they obtained IQs within the normal range or above and successfully completed grade level work in regular education classes, most without support. One of the most critical elements of the treatment plan implemented by Autism Partnership was the emphasis on teaching authentic social skills on multiple and complex levels which led to the children having meaningful friendships. When all is said and done, improving the quality of life for a person with ASD must be the most important objective.
Why The Study Is Important:
Historically, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has been thought to be an extremely serious and lifelong disorder that severely impacts the lives of children and their families. The prognosis has been bleak at best and the future was one of restricted opportunities.
Despite the previous research showing Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to be an effective treatment, the criticisms of prior studies were many and included assertions such as:
- It was only possible to achieve such results in University settings and therefore such progress could never occur in a more typical community setting
This new study completed at Autism Partnership demonstrated that ABA is a highly effective method of treatment and that it could indeed be successfully conducted in a community setting
- Such treatment was impractical because the intensity of intervention (i.e., an average of 40 hours weekly of intervention) would not be possible or affordable for the typical child with ASD.
This new study completed at Autism Partnership showed that students who received an average of 22 hours of ABA per week had successful outcomes.
From The Authors:
Dr. Ronald Leaf, the lead author of the study, commented, “It is so very gratifying to be part of life changing treatment which enhances the quality of life for children and families.” But parents must understand that this treatment is not a miracle nor is it easy. It is a long journey, with ups and downs and numerous challenges to overcome. It requires everyone who touches the child’s life to work together in partnership in order to increase the child’s success.
Dr. John McEachin, who collaborated on the study, further cautioned on the importance of adhering to evidence-based treatments and to not be sidetracked into fad treatments that do not have a sound scientific basis and a solid track record. The most significant progress a child will make is within the first 3 years of treatment. Time is critical. We simply cannot allow time to be lost on less effective or non-scientific methods.”
Dr. Mitchell Taubman, also a co-author of this study, commented that “One of the most critical elements of the treatment plan implemented by Autism Partnership was the emphasis on teaching authentic social skills on multiple and complex levels which led to the children having meaningful friendships. When all is said and done, improving social skills and social awareness has an enormous impact on the quality of life for a person with ASD.”