Parent-directed, intensive early intervention for children with pervasive developmental disorder

Res Dev Disabil. Jul-Aug 2000;21(4):297-309. doi: 10.1016/s0891-4222(00)00043-3.


We examined parent-directed, intensive early intervention for children with Pervasive Developmental Disorder. Children's parents recruited paraprofessional therapists and requested consultations on how to implement the UCLA treatment model in their homes (Smith & Lovaas, 1998). Parents and therapists then received six one-day workshops over a five-month period, with additional consultations for the next 2-3 years. Six boys participated (intake age 35-45 months, intake IQ 45-60). The study addressed 1) the children's skill acquisition during the first five months of treatment; 2) outcome 2-3 years later; 3) treatment quality; and 4) parents' impressions. Five of 6 children rapidly acquired skills when treatment began, but only 2 clearly improved on standardized tests at the 2-3 year follow-up. Therapists usually employed correct treatment procedures but were less consistent than therapists employed at a clinic. Parents reported high satisfaction with treatment. These mixed results highlight the need for multimodal assessment of parent-directed treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / psychology
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / therapy*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Treatment Outcome