New Therapy Shows Promise For Infants Demonstrating Indications of Autism

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A specialized intervention program made to treat infants showing signs of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may help significantly reduce symptoms through the age of three, according to new research currently appearing online in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

In the study, authors Sally J. Rogers and Sally Ozonoff, each of whom are professors of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of California, Davis, are convinced that beginning treatment in a single of these “Infant Start” programs as soon as six months after birth could improve symptoms and alleviate developmental delay.

In fact, taking part in these programs led to such improvement that many who received the therapy put together to possess neither ASD nor developmental delay through the chronilogical age of three, the study authors said. The research looked at only seven kids, but is the first to check out the result of starting therapy during the first year of life, said USA Today’s Karen Weintraub.

“Most from the children within the study, six out of seven, distracted by all their learning skills as well as their language when they were 2 to 3,” Rogers, who had been the lead author of the study and was also responsible for developing the newborn Start therapy, said inside a statement Monday. “Most children with ASD are barely even getting diagnosed at that time.”

“For the children who are achieving typical developmental rates, we are essentially ameliorating their developmental delays. We have led to their developmental rates and profiles, not for each child in our sample, but for six from the seven,” she continued, crediting the mother and father of those youngsters for his or her role within the pilot study.

“Parents exist every day using their babies. It’s the little moments of diapering, feeding, playing on the floor, going for a walk, standing on a swing, that are the critical learning moments for babies. Those moments are what parents can take advantage of in a manner that nobody else can actually,” Rogers added.

According to Shirley S. Wang of the Wall Street Journal, Rogers, Ozonoff and colleagues from UC Davis and York University enrolled the mother and father of seven babies who have been at high-risk of developing autism in 12 weekly instructional sessions designed to help them learn how to improve the social communication and play of their infants. Most of those youngsters were able to catch-up developmentally to low-risk babies that did not demonstrate ASD symptoms.

“By Three years of age, five of the seven babies were regarded as developing normally and had no proper diagnosis of autism-spectrum disorder, or ASD. Four had older siblings diagnosed with the problem,” Wang said. “Researchers believe repeated social stimulation and making engagement with other people more desirable helped the babies find out more about social information, which is critical to their learning about language and communication.”

Rogers told Weintraub the findings do not indicate the program helped children recover from autism, since those infants were too young to have been officially diagnosed with the disorder. However, she said it showed that Infant Start showed promise like a potential strategy to young kids experiencing ASD-related symptoms, although it remains unclear when the program is better than therapy typically provided to three- and four-year-olds.

Likewise, University of Connecticut child neuropsychologist Deborah Fein told USA Today it’s far too soon to declare Infant Start therapy an effective cure or strategy to autism, since some babies that appear as though they will have terrible issues simply outgrow them. However, she asserted the outcomes were impressive enough to warrant further investigation inside a larger study C something that Rogers said may happen once funding is available.