Age and IQ at intake as predictors of placement for young children with autism: a four- to six-year follow-up

J Autism Dev Disord. 2000 Apr;30(2):137-42. doi: 10.1023/a:1005459606120.


The predictive power of age and IQ at time of admission to an intensive treatment program using applied behavior analysis were examined in a 4- to 6-year follow-up of educational placement. Twenty-seven children with autistic disorder who were between the ages of 31 and 65 months and had IQs on the Stanford Binet between 35 and 109 at time of admission to the Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center were followed up 4 to 6 years after they left the preschool. The results showed that having a higher IQ at intake (M = 78) and being of younger age (M = 42 months) were both predictive of being in a regular education class after discharge, whereas having a lower IQ (M = 46) and being older at intake (M = 54 months) were closely related to placement in a special education classroom. The results are interpreted as pointing to the need for very early intervention for children with Autistic Disorder. It is also emphasized that older children and those with lower IQs in the present study showed measurable gains in IQ from treatment. The data should not be taken to suggest that children older than 4 years of age do not merit high quality treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Autistic Disorder / diagnosis
  • Autistic Disorder / therapy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Early Intervention, Educational
  • Education, Special*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intelligence*
  • Male
  • Stanford-Binet Test