AutismChildrenCognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Lovass and behavioral intervention for autism

It’s believed that early intensive behavioral and developmental interventions for young children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) may enhance developmental outcomes.

Researchers at Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, Tennessee reviewed the evidence in children aged 12 and younger with ASDs.

First, the details.

  • 34 studies were included in the review.
    • 1 study was good quality, 10 were fair, and 23 were poor quality.

And, the results.

  • Overall, the strength of the evidence ranged from insufficient to low.
  • Studies of Lovaas–based interventions reported clinically significant gains in language and cognitive skills in some children.
  • 1 study of an early intensive developmental intervention (the Early Start Denver Model) reported gains.
  • Specific parent-training approaches yielded gains in short-term language function and some challenging behaviors.
  • Data suggest that certain groups of children displayed more prominent gains, but characteristics associated with greater gains are not understood.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Studies of Lovaas-based approaches and early intensive behavioral intervention variants and the Early Start Denver Model resulted in some improvements in cognitive performance, language skills, and adaptive behavior skills in some young children with ASDs, although the literature is limited.”

More information on the Early Start Denver model is here and here.

More on the Lovass approach is here.

4/8/11 14:43 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.