The Koegel Autism Center at the University of California just published the results of a study in which they were able to treat autism in infants. The researchers used a “modified” Pivotal Response Stimuli treatment and found that at the end of the intervention period all of the infants involved had normal responses to had normal reactions to stimuli. The study is published in the Journal of Positive Behavioral Interventions.
In the study games such as peek a boo, which can be upsetting to children on the autism spectrum, were replaced with games the researchers identified as being pleasurable to the infants. Parents were instructed to use these identified games with their children in place of others and to give their children a “social reward” after the activity. Over time, the less pleasurable activities were mixed with the more pleasurable ones.
The study’s lead author, Lynn Koegel, emphasized the need for a social reward. “The idea is to get them more interested in people,” she continued, “to focus on their socialization. If they’re avoiding people and avoiding interacting, that creates a whole host of other issues. They don’t form friendships, and then they don’t get the social feedback that comes from interacting with friends.”
Koegel plans more research to try and identify “red flags” in infants which could point to an autism diagnosis and lead to early intervention. “When you consider that the recommended intervention for preschoolers with autism is 30 to 40 hours per week of one-on-one therapy, this is a fairly easy fix,” she said. “We did a single one-hour session per week for four to 12 weeks until the symptoms improved, and some of these infants were only a few months old. We saw a lot of positive change.”
For more information on this study and the source of the above quotes go to: