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Intervention May Reverse Early Signs of Autism

Infants who received preemptive intervention had lower odds of meeting diagnostic criteria at age 3 years

MONDAY, Sept. 27, 2021 (HealthDay News) — A preemptive intervention reduces behaviors associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) when used at the time atypical development first emerges during infancy, according to a study published online Sept. 20 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Andrew J.O. Whitehouse, Ph.D., from the Telethon Kids Institute in Nedlands, Australia, and colleagues assessed the efficacy of a preemptive intervention for ASD beginning during the prodromal period. The analysis included infants (aged 9 to 14 months) showing early behaviors associated with later ASD who were randomly assigned to either a preemptive intervention (10-session social communication intervention, iBASIS-Video Interaction to Promote Positive Parenting [iBASIS-VIPP]) plus usual care (50 infants) or usual care only (53 infants) during a five-month period.

The researchers found that the preemptive iBASIS-VIPP intervention led to a reduction in ASD symptom severity (area between curves, −5.53) and reduced odds of ASD classification at age 3 years (iBASIS-VIPP group: 6.7 percent versus 20.5 percent in the usual care group; odds ratio, 0.18). To reduce ASD classification, the number needed to treat was 7.2 participants. In the iBASIS-VIPP group, there were improvements noted in caregiver responsiveness and language outcomes.

“The combination of a significant treatment effect with maintenance up to 18 months after intervention provides initial evidence of efficacy for a new clinical model that uses a specific developmentally focused intervention among infants at higher likelihood of developing ASD,” the authors write.

Several authors were involved in the development of the iBASIS-VIPP intervention.

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