Outcomes of a 10-Hour per Week Interdisciplinary Early Intervention Program for Young Children with Autism

Thursday, May 12, 2016: 11:30 AM-1:30 PM
Hall A (Baltimore Convention Center)
A. Tanner1 and C. Ganam2, (1)Monarch House, Vancouver, BC, Canada, (2)Monarch House, BUrnaby, BC, Canada
Background:   There are currently no biological markers for diagnosing autism spectrum disorder (ASD) therefore the diagnosis relies solely on behavioral features, and although it is understood that early diagnosis and intervention can maximize the outcomes of children with ASD, children are often not diagnosed until they are between 3 and 6 years of age (Johnson & Myers, 2007). MacDonald, Parry-Cruwys, Dupere & Adhern (2014) found that 90% of children who started intervention prior to 2 years of age made significant gains in their first year of early intensive behavior intervention (EIBI) whereas only 30% of children who began EIBI after 30 months of age made significant gains in their first year of treatment.  Monarch House is a multi-disciplinary clinic where children under the age of 6 with a diagnosis of ASD receives a minimum 10 hours of behavior intervention weekly, overseen by an interdisciplinary team consisting of a  Behavior Analyst, a Speech and Language Pathologist and an Occupational Therapist. 

Objectives:   This study reviews the specific clinical model and evaluates the effectiveness of a 10 hour, per week interdisciplinary model using The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) and The Verbal Behavior Milestone Assessment and Placement Program (VB-Mapp).  

Methods:   A single-subject, multiple baseline across participants design was used to evaluate the key outcomes of 30 children with ASD in their first year of intervention. The rate of acquisition (number of milestones achieved per month) for the first year of treatment was evaluated and compared across three intervention groups: those who began intervention prior to age 3, those who began intervention between the 3 and 4 years of age, and those who began intervention after 4 years of age. 

Results:  Preliminary results suggest that those who began treatment prior to the age of 3 achieved significantly more VB-Mapp Milestones in their first year of intervention than those who began treatment after three years of age. 

Conclusions:   The effects and benefits of a 10 hour per week interdisciplinary early intervention program will be discussed.