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A review of evidence-based early intervention for behavioural problems in children with autism spectrum disorder: the core components of effective programs, child-focused interventions and comprehensive treatment models

Tonge, Bruce J.; Bull, Kerry; Brereton, Avril; Wilson, Rebecca

Current Opinion in Psychiatry: March 2014 - Volume 27 - Issue 2 - p 158–165
doi: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000043
Edited by Richard Williams and Philip Hazell

Purpose of review This article reviews recent evidence and other earlier relevant articles regarding early intervention studies for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Recent findings There is a well-established body of empirical evidence for the effectiveness of Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention (EIBI) with young children with ASD. The importance of parent skills training, education and positive behaviour support is also a key factor in influencing outcomes. Drug treatment is of short-term benefit for disruptive behaviour but long-term outcome and metabolic side-effects have not been studied.

Summary Few studies have measured the long-term value and effectiveness of early intervention treatments, and currently there are no articles published on effects into adulthood of such treatments. Such research would indicate whether early intervention results in reduced reliance on health services into adulthood.

Centre for Developmental Psychiatry and Psychology, Monash University, Victoria, Australia

Correspondence to Emeritus Professor Bruce Tonge, Centre for Developmental Psychiatry and Psychology, Monash University, Omnico Business Centre, Building 2, 270 Ferntree Gully Road, Notting Hill, VIC 3168, Australia. Tel: +61 3 9905 0156; e-mail:

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