The results of a recent clinical trial has been published by Dr Whitehouse from the University of Western Australia. It showed that by addressing signs of Autism in infancy there was a significant reduction of children who met the DSM criteria for an Autism diagnosis at age three.
About the Study
The study summarised:
The Question – Does pre-emptive intervention compared with usual care reduce the severity of autism symptoms and the likelihood of an autism spectrum disorder. (Andrew J. O. Whitehouse, et al. 2021)
Findings – In this randomized clinical trial of 103 infants showing early behavioural signs of ASD, pre-emptive intervention led to a statistically significant reduction in the severity of ASD behaviours across early childhood. Infants who received the pre-emptive intervention had lower odds of meeting diagnostic criteria for ASD (7%) than those who received usual care (21%) at age 3 years, with a number needed to treat of 7 participants. (Andrew J. O. Whitehouse, et al. 2021)
Meaning – This study found that a pre-emptive intervention reduced ASD diagnostic behaviours when used at the time atypical development first emerges during infancy. (Andrew J. O. Whitehouse, et al. 2021)
The study involved 103 children across Melbourne and Perth. Each child who participated had shown early behavioural signs of autism such as, lack of eye contact, imitation or social smiling. Fifty of the infants participated in the iBASIS-VIPP therapy. The other 53 infants received services in their local community, such as allied health therapy, working with psychologists etc. The study aimed to observe outcomes in infants by providing support in social communication skills in the first year of life.
The findings showed that of the children who participated and used the iBASIS-VIPP therapy a total of 6.7% met diagnostic criteria at age three. In comparison to a 20.7% of those who did not receive the therapy. This was a significant finding for researchers.
About the Therapy
The early intervention program is a therapy called iBASIS-VIPP. It is based on Video interaction for positive parenting or VIIP. Parents are trained to deliver the program at home. The program participants trialled this therapy for 5 months. The program is in no way suggesting parents are the cause of autism. The study aims to support additional therapies early on to further enrich their child’s social environment, and creating learning opportunities.
While this study may seem ground-breaking we do have ask ” Is this conditioning to hide true autistic behaviour?” Autism characteristics can be masked but this is not the same as ‘Cured” So while it sounds amazing in theory many autistic individuals are asking if this is just delaying the inevitable and causing trauma along the way. Autism is a neurodiversity that a child is born with and can not be “Cured” Instead a far better use of money and resources may be to learn acceptance and learning how to truly understand what autism actually is.
For further information you can read the full results of this clinical trial here https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/2784066
References from the journal as listed above.