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Intensive Behavioral Treatment At School For 4- To 7-Year-Old Children With Autism

Svein Eikeseth, Tristram Smith, Erik Jahr, Sigmund Eldevik

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This study was designed to evaluate 1 year of intensive treatment for 4- to 7-year-old children with autism. An independent clinician assigned children to either behavioral treatment (n = 13) or eclectic treatment (n = 12). Assignment was based on availability of personnel to supervise treatment and was not influenced by child characteristics or family preference.The two treatment groups received similar amounts of treatment (M = 28.52 hours per week at the child’s school). Children in the behavioral treatment group made significantly larger gains on standardized tests than did children in the eclectic treatment group. Results suggest that some 4- to 7-year-olds may make large gains with intensive behavioral treatment, that such treatment can be successfully implemented in school settings, and that specific aspects of behavioral treatment (not just its intensity) may account for favorable outcomes.