Hope for autism
Thursday, 24 May, 2007
Health Children with autism showed an improvement in language and daily living skills and also in their levels of Intelligence Quotient (IQ) following the implementation of Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention (EIBI).
The home-based programme was tried for 25 hours per week over a two-year period, with the cooperation of trained staff and the parents of autistic children. The courses were individualised to meet the needs of each child and this proved to be beneficial. IQ levels improved significantly, with two-thirds of the children showing an increase. Indeed, one child saw their IQ leap from 30 to 70, while another showed an improvement from 72 to 115. This is particularly impressive considering the general population have an average IQ of between 85 and 115.
Despite the intensive nature of the programme, parents were more than willing to participate to help their children. The study was led by Professor Bob Remington of the School of Psychology, who did admit that the programme was hard work and a big commitment but added that he felt it was "harder to be helpless."
Today, an estimated 535,000 people live in the UK with an autistic condition. This early intervention appears to help autistic children develop important skills that could allow them to be included in mainstream schools. With this in mind, the Southampton Childhood Autism programme (SCAmP) research team will continue to monitor the children to establish long-term effects to improve the programme for others.