Behavioural interventions for preschool children with autism

McGahan L
Record ID 32001000973
English, French
Authors' objectives:

The objectives of this study are to present a summary of evidence and expert opinions regarding behavioural therapy, and describe Canadian issues and initiatives, an analysis of legal case findings in the area, and key factors that influence the provision of services to preschool children with autism in Canada.

Authors' recomendations: Though limited, findings of existing studies suggest that preschool children with autism exhibit cognitive and functional improvement when receiving behavioural intervention with applied behavioural analysis for approximately 20 hours per week or more. It is not clear, however, which subset of children with autism derive the most benefit, which components of therapy are integral to positive outcomes, whether similar results would be observed in older children with autism, whether there are definable long term functional benefits, or whether reported gains in IQ translate into happier people with greater functioning in the community. It is important for policy makers, program developers and clinical researchers to consider identifying pre-treatment characteristics of those receiving therapy, measuring treatment fidelity, evaluating progress in therapy to determine whether therapy is or continues to be of benefit, and comparing the value of early intensive behavioural therapy to other early interventions for autism. Methodological flaws in the primary studies that were examined in reviews suggest that standard measures for assessment, continued evaluation of progress, and long term functional outcomes are required in future study design. Improved research methods would provide more reliable evidence about therapeutic effectiveness and would assist in the planning of individualized treatment programs aimed at more successful outcomes.
Authors' methods: Systematic review
Project Status: Completed
URL for project:
Year Published: 2001
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Not Assigned
Country: Canada
MeSH Terms
  • Autistic Disorder
  • Behavior Therapy
  • Child, Preschool
Organisation Name: Canadian Coordinating Office for Health Technology Assessment
Contact Address: 600-865 Carling Avenue, Ottawa, ON K1S 5S8 Canada. Tel: +1 613 226 2553, Fax: +1 613 226 5392;
Contact Name:
Contact Email:
Copyright: Canadian Coordinating Office for Health Technology Assessment
This is a bibliographic record of a published health technology assessment from a member of INAHTA or other HTA producer. No evaluation of the quality of this assessment has been made for the HTA database.