Communication Therapy Doesn't Improve Autism Symptoms

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While helping children with autism learn how to communicate has been shown to benefit parent-child interaction, it does not improve their symptoms, according to a study published in The Lancet.

While helping children with autism learn how to communicate has been shown to benefit parent-child interaction, it does not improve their symptoms, according to a study published in The Lancet.

Professor Jonathan Green of England’s University of Manchester and colleagues set out to investigate the efficacy of early interventions for social communicate in autistic children, which have been found to be effective in smaller studies. The researchers assigned 152 autistic children between the ages of 2 years and 4 years, 11 months to receive either communication-focused treatment, which included language therapy sessions, or standard care over the course of 13 months.

Outcomes were measured using the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-Generic algorithm, as well as secondary markers such as parent-child interaction, child language and adaptive functioning in school.

In comparing results for the two groups, researchers found that communication-focused treatment was not more effective than standard care after differences such as gender, age and treatment center were factored in. There was, however, a clear benefit in communication between parents and children, they found.

The results were announced at the International Meeting for Autism Research, held last week in Philadelphia, PA.

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