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Two-Year Outcomes For Children With Autism After The Cessation Of Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention

Hanna Kovshoff, Richard P. Hastings, Bob Remington

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Evidence from recent meta-analytic and narrative review suggests that early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) may improve life chances of preschool children with autism. Unfortunately, there are few data indicating whether early gains are maintained after intervention ceases. The purpose of the present study was to establish the 2-year follow-up outcome for children with autism ( N = 41) who had participated in an earlier 2-year controlled comparison of EIBI. Twenty-three children in the intervention group (100% of original sample) and 18 in the treatment-as-usual comparison group (86% of original sample) were located and retested. Group differences favoring intervention substantially diluted in this period but varied significantly between subgroups who had received university-supervised and parent-commissioned interventions, favoring the latter. These groups differed in terms of their baseline characteristics and intensity of intervention. Results strongly suggest a need for better characterization of those children who would benefit from more active maintenance programs.