A study into the effects of early intervention therapy designed to help parents communicate with their autistic children has shown record levels of success in reducing the core symptoms of the condition.
The study, which was led by the University of Manchester, King’s College London and Newcastle University, follows a six-month trial in which autistic children aged two to four years old were given communication and play activities. benefits have been seen up to six years after the therapy ended.
Children who received early intervention therapy showed less severe symptoms of autism six years later, with children displaying improvements in social communication and a reduction in repetitive behaviour.
Published in The Lancet, the study is the first to show the long-term effects of such early intervention on the symptoms of autism.
One of the study’s leaders, Professor Jonathan Green of the University of Manchester, says the therapy is not a cure but it “has potential to affect the everyday life of the child”.
Green says, “Our findings are encouraging, as they represent an improvement in the core symptoms of autism previously thought very resistant to change.”