International Meeting for Autism Research: The Infant and Toddler Program: Evaluation of a Community-Based Intervention for Newly Diagnosed Infants and Toddlers with Autism

The Infant and Toddler Program: Evaluation of a Community-Based Intervention for Newly Diagnosed Infants and Toddlers with Autism

Thursday, May 12, 2011
Elizabeth Ballroom E-F and Lirenta Foyer Level 2 (Manchester Grand Hyatt)
10:00 AM
M. Stolte1 and S. Hodgetts2, (1)Centre for Autism Services Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, (2)Pediatrics, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada
Background: This poster presents outcomes from a community-based model to provide intensive, multi-disciplinary intervention to newly diagnosed infants and toddlers (18-42 months) with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in a large urban centre in Canada. The model was developed in consultation with regional experts and based on best practices literature for this age group. The model was informed by contemporary evidence-based behavioral theory (Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT); Koegel & Koegel, 2006) and developmental theory (the Hanen Centre’s “More than Words” (MTW) program; Sussman, 1999). The model consisted of weekly home-based professional consultation from a multi-disciplinary team, group and individual parent training, the inclusion of the child in community play groups and day care settings with typically developing peers, and the use of a behavioral aide in both home and community settings for up to 9 hours per week.

Objectives: This poster describes the treatment model and presents child and family outcomes from the first 11 families. Associated difficulties with ASD and their results are also summarized.

Methods: Objective child outcomes were the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, 2nd edition (VABS-2) composite and domain scores as well as the autism index scores from the Pervasive Developmental Disorder Behavioral Inventory (PDDBI). Outcomes were also gathered on associated challenges identified with autism including feeding and sleeping concerns. Qualitative data was also obtained through parental interview.   

Results: Child demographics were as follows: mean age at intake 30.5 months, mean program length 10.4 months, 91% of the children came from a two parent household and 27% of the families were of a minority cultural background. The VABS-2 indicated objective gains for 55% of the children. When compared to their same aged peers, 73% made objective progress in daily living skills, 55% in communication skills, 36% in socialization skills and 27% in motor skills.  PDDBI results indicated that 55% of the children had a reported decrease in their autism severity index. Associated difficulties included feeding problems in 82% of the children and sleeping problems in 55% of the children. Despite significant variability in child outcomes, all parents reported a high level of satisfaction with the intervention model and an overall increase in their confidence and ability to interact with their child.

Conclusions: Results suggest that this comprehensive, community based early intervention model can improve developmental outcomes in young children with ASD and improve the quality of parent-child interactions.

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