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Brief Report: An Evaluation of an Australian Autism-Specific, Early Intervention Programme

Jessica M. Paynter, Emma P. Riley, Wendi Beamish, James G. Scott, Helen S. Heussler,

Academic Literature


There is a relative paucity of evidence examining the effectiveness of early intervention for young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, in particular those delivered through educationally-based programmes. This study aimed to evaluate the real world effectiveness of a community-based autism-specific early learning and intervention programme in Australia. Children enrolled between February 2010 and May 2013 who had a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder was eligible to participate in the study. Fifty-nine children with a mean age of 3.98 years participated. Cognitive ability, language, autistic symptoms, and motor skills were assessed at baseline and follow up (12 months or at programme exit) using standardised measures. Pre- and post-measures were compared using paired sample t-tests. Significant improvements were found in receptive and expressive language, autism symptoms, and overall adaptive behaviour. No significant change was found in motor skills. Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder attending the community-based programme had significant gains particularly in domains of cognition and language. Study limitations are discussed. (As Provided)

Publication information

Journal/Publication : International Journal of Special Education

Domain/s: Education

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