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

ge, the preschoolers receiving ESDM for two years improved 17.5 standard score points compared to 7.0 points in the community intervention comparison group.

This study sought to address whether the lack of early social engagement associated with ASD could have negative secondary effects on behavioral and brain development. The ESDM approach is novel not only because it is effective in very young children, but it also blends the rigor of applied behavioral analysis (ABA) with play-based routines that focused on building a relationship with the child. During reciprocal social interactions, engagement with a social partner such as a parent, caregiver or therapist is believed to stimulate brain activity associated with the ability to recognize and perceive social information and language. In measuring EEG activity while viewing both social stimuli (faces) and non-social stimuli (toys) this study found that early intervention designed to enhance social attention and social engagement served to alter a child's brain development toward a more positive developmental trajectory. The authors also examined the relationship between EEG activity and behavior outcomes. Previous studies have found that typical babies and young children show more robust brain activity when they view social stimuli, such as faces, than when viewing objects. Children with autism have been found to show the opposite pattern.

"Children receiving ESDM had greater brain activity while viewing faces and also had fewer social-pragmatic problems and improved social communication, such as the ability to initiate interactions, make eye contact, and imitate others," said MIND Institute researcher and co-author Sally Rogers, Ph.D.

Forty-eight children with ASD between 18- and 30-months-old were recruited through pediatric practices, Birth-to-Three centers and state and local autism organizations. These children had a diagnosis of autistic disorder or pervasive developmental disorder
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Contact: Jane E. Rubinstein
jrubinstein@rubenstein.com
212-843-8287
Autism Speaks
Source:Eurekalert  

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