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ESDM early intervention improves brain activity associated with social cues
Date:10/26/2012

(NEW YORK, N.Y., October 26, 2012) The Early Start Denver Model (ESDM), a comprehensive behavioral early intervention program that is appropriate for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as young as 12 months, has been found to be effective in improving social skills and brain responses to social cues in a randomized controlled study published online today in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

"So much of a toddler's learning involves social interaction, and early intervention that promotes attention to people and social cues may pay dividends in promoting the normal development of the brain and behavior," said Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D., Autism Speaks chief science officer and the study's lead author. This is the first controlled study of an intensive early intervention that demonstrates both improvement of social skills and brain responses to social stimuli resulting from intensive early intervention. Given that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all 18- and 24-month-old children be screened for autism, "it is vital that we have effective therapies available for young children as soon as they are diagnosed," continued Dr. Dawson.

"This may be the first demonstration that a behavioral intervention for autism is associated with changes in brain function as well as positive changes in behavior," said Thomas R. Insel, M.D., director of the National Institute of Mental Health. "By studying changes in the neural response to faces, Dawson and her colleagues have identified a new target and a potential biomarker that can guide treatment development."

ESDM, which combines applied behavioral analysis (ABA) teaching methods with developmental 'relationship-based' approaches, was previously demonstrated to achieve significant gains in cognitive, language and daily living skills compared to children with ASD who received commonly available community interventions. On avera
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Contact: Jane E. Rubinstein
jrubinstein@rubenstein.com
212-843-8287
Autism Speaks
Source:Eurekalert  

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