Using participant data to extend the evidence base for intensive behavioral intervention for children with autism

Am J Intellect Dev Disabil. 2010 Sep;115(5):381-405. doi: 10.1352/1944-7558-115.5.381.


We gathered individual participant data from 16 group design studies on behavioral intervention for children with autism. In these studies, 309 children received behavioral intervention, 39 received comparison interventions, and 105 were in a control group. More children who underwent behavioral intervention achieved reliable change in IQ (29.8%) compared with 2.6% and 8.7% for comparison and control groups, respectively, and reliable change in adaptive behavior was achieved for 20.6% versus 5.7% and 5.1%, respectively. These results equated to a number needed to treat of 5 for IQ and 7 for adaptive behavior and absolute risk reduction of 23% and 16%, respectively. Within the behavioral intervention sample, IQ and adaptive behavior at intake predicted gains in adaptive behavior. Intensity of intervention predicted gains in both IQ and adaptive behavior.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Autistic Disorder / psychology
  • Autistic Disorder / therapy*
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Child
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / therapy*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Controlled Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Early Intervention, Educational
  • Evidence-Based Practice*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intelligence
  • Male
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Prognosis
  • Young Adult