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Review: more RCTs on early intensive behavioural intervention for young children with autism spectrum disorders needed

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Question: Is early intensive behavioural intervention (EIBI) effective for young children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD)?

Outcomes: Primary outcomes: adaptive behaviour, psychopathology and deterioration on a primary measure. Secondary outcomes: intelligence, communication and language skills, social competence and quality of life.


Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Data sources: The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Ovid MEDLINE (1950 onwards), EMBASE (Ovid) (1980 onwards), CINAHL Plus (EBSCOhost) (1937 onwards), PsycINFO (Ovid) (1806 onwards), Sociological Abstracts (Proquest) (1952 onwards), ERIC (Dialog Datastar) (1966 onwards), Social Science Citation Index (SSCI) (1970 onwards), WorldCat (OCLC), metaRegister of Controlled Trials and Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations were searched on 22 November 2011. Reference lists of included trials and relevant papers were hand-searched, and authors of included studies were contacted to identify unpublished or ongoing trials.

Study selection and analysis: Randomised controlled trials, quasi-randomised controlled trials and controlled clinical trials (CCTs) assessing EIBI in children with ASD aged less than 6 years old at the start of treatment. Asperger's disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified, or …

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  • Sources of funding: Yale Child Study Center Associates, USA.


  • Competing interests GD is an author of two books on early autism intervention from which she receives royalties.

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