(HealthDay News) – High-quality early interventions may equally benefit preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder as much as any specific education treatment model, according to a study published online June 28 in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.
Brian A. Boyd, PhD, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues compared high-fidelity LEAP (Learning Experiences and Alternative Program for Preschoolers and Their Parents) and TEACCH (Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication Handicapped Children) classrooms to each other and to a control classroom in which teachers in high-quality special education programs used non-model-specific practices. The data analysis included 198 children.
The researchers found that, over time, across all conditions, children’s performances improved. The findings raise questions as to whether specific unique features of each comprehensive treatment model (CTM) contribute to the improvements or if the common features of a high-quality special education program is as beneficial as access to a specific CTM.
“We know that more children are being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder each year, and that it can cost an estimated $3.2 million to treat each child over a lifetime,” Boyd said in a statement. “Understanding that a child can benefit from a high-quality program, rather than a specialized program, may help reduce those costs by decreasing the need for teachers and other school practitioners to be trained to deliver multiple specialized services.”