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52 - Evaluating interventions for children with autism and intellectual disabilities

from Part III - Specific treatments

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 May 2010

Patricia Howlin
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology Institute of PsychiatryKing's College London UK
Kwon Hower
Affiliation:
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry University of Washington School of Medicine Seattle, WA USA
Peter Tyrer
Affiliation:
Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London
Kenneth R. Silk
Affiliation:
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
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Summary

Editor's note

Autism and other developmental disorders have led many parents and families to seek alternative or miracle cures because traditional treatment has had, at best, only mild success here. Yet none of these ‘miracle treatments’ has any evidence of efficacy or effectiveness. Psychopharmacologic interventions that target specific behaviours or symptoms have had some success, and these interventions are more readily used in the USA than in the UK. Educational programmes that provide structure and a predictable schedule and have consistency in the people who deliver the programme do appear to be able to deliver some modest improvement especially if the learning is closely tied to visual cues. Interventions that are behavioural in approach also appear to have some modest success in modifying behaviour especially around communication and social interaction. Again the improvements here are modest and probably have greater success in children who are at the milder end of the developmental disorder or autistic spectrum. A great deal of work needs to be done to empirically test these interventions to identify what elements appear to have the greatest impact on what aspect of these difficult disorders.

Introduction

When the first accounts of autism appeared in the 1940s and 1950s, the condition was considered to be a psychiatric disorder of psychogenic origin. Consequently, the principal treatments were psychoanalysis, medication or interventions such as ECT, as used for patients with psychosis (see Campbell, 1978).

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2008

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