Intensive behavioral treatment for children with autism: four-year outcome and predictors

Am J Ment Retard. 2005 Nov;110(6):417-38. doi: 10.1352/0895-8017(2005)110[417:IBTFCW]2.0.CO;2.


Twenty-four children with autism were randomly assigned to a clinic-directed group, replicating the parameters of the early intensive behavioral treatment developed at UCLA, or to a parent-directed group that received intensive hours but less supervision by equally well-trained supervisors. Outcome after 4 years of treatment, including cognitive, language, adaptive, social, and academic measures, was similar for both groups. After combining groups, we found that 48% of all children showed rapid learning, achieved average posttreatment scores, and at age 7, were succeeding in regular education classrooms. Treatment outcome was best predicted by pretreatment imitation, language, and social responsiveness. These results are consistent with those reported by Lovaas and colleagues (Lovaas, 1987; McEachin, Smith, & Lovaas, 1993).

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Achievement
  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Autistic Disorder / psychology*
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Child
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imitative Behavior
  • Language Disorders / diagnosis
  • Learning
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / etiology*
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Social Behavior
  • Time Factors