Early intervention for autism shown to be effective

Early intervention therapy for children diagnosed with autism improved symptoms, according to a landmark study by the University of Washington and funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. 

More specifically, the study determined that for children between the ages of 18 months and 30 months, two years of therapy in a treatment model referred to as Early Start Denver led to results such as increased IQ, and sometimes even re-diagnosis. 

While the study only comprised 48 children, autism education specialist Tony Charman, of the Institute of Education in London, calls it "a landmark of great import," reports the Associated Press.  

The treatment, which spanned four hours per day, five days a week with a therapist, as well as five hours a week with parents, focused on improving social interaction and communication skills for the children. Increased eye contact and use of words by the children was rewarded. 

Despite the progress, no children were labeled "cured" in the study, which was headed by Geraldine Dawson, the chief science officer for Autism Speaks and a former University of Washington professor. 

To learn more about the study:
- read this Associated Press article, via the Boston Globe