Treatment should be multimodal, and evidence is well established that early identiﬁcation and implementation of behavioral and therapeutic interventions are associated with more positive outcomes. A recent article examined 34 studies of early intensive behavioral and developmental interventions for young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Gains were seen with intensive interventions emphasizing both speciﬁc behavioral (e.g., UCLA/Lovaas approach) and developmental principles (e.g., the Early Start Denver Model). Such interventions resulted in improved cognitive performance, language skills and adaptive behavior skills in some young children with ASD.
However, few research studies were rated of good quality, and existing evidence does not favor any single early-intervention approach. Unfortunately, some children do not make signiﬁcant progress despite our best efforts, and there are no reliable methods of prognosticating in this regard.
No established medical treatments exist for the core deﬁcits of autism. Medications are used to treat symptoms or associated medical conditions impeding successful function, such as stimulant medications for children with extremely limited attention spans (although the risk of side effects, including increased emotional lability related to these medications, is higher in children with ASD).
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