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Intensive Behavioral Treatment for Children with Autism - Essay Example

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The study and treatment of autism as a form of mental retardation has been an area of scholarly and practical interest. Among the studies that have been conducted in recent years, the intervention program tested and studied by Sallows and Graupner deserve considerable attention…
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Intensive Behavioral Treatment for Children with Autism
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Download file to see previous pages (Sallows & Graupner: 2005, p.417) Their reexamination of the program's effectivity is not a simple and direct replication of the earlier program. Rather, they build on the research already conducted by Lovaas and other scholars by introducing new areas of inquiry to be considered in the course of their research.
Two questions are most notable for their significance. First, they ask whether there would be any significant differences in the success rate of the intervention program if it is parent-directed and community-based, as compared to the clinic-directed, university-based program implemented by the UCLA Young Autism Project. (Sallows & Graupner: 2005, p.419) Second, the research is also directed towards the identification of pre-treatment variables in autistic infants that may predict the success of the early intervention program in treating autism and the symptoms that accompany it. (Sallows & Graupner: 2005, p.419)
The first question poses significant implications for practical purposes in that the relative success of a community-based, parent-directed behavioral intervention program patterned after the UCLA program would translate into a cheaper, more feasible alternative for families seeking intervention treatment for their children. According to Sallows and Graupner, one of the significant criticisms against the behavioral intervention program developed by the UCLA Young Autism Project was that although it seemed to be effective in 50% of the cases, it was too expensive to be replicated for the access of low-income families with autistic children. (Sallows & Graupner: 2005, p.418)
The search for a more affordable alternative has thus become a primary thrust in more recent researches, many of which attempted to lower the expense by cutting back on the total treatment hours. Unlike such studies, however, Sallows and Graupner's research differs in its strategy of cost-reduction and, more importantly, in its relative success in replicating the success rate of the original intervention treatment design. Practically the same percentage of autistic children from the two experimental groups were able to adapt and integrate into regular schooling programs at the end of the four-year program, regardless of whether they were from the professional clinic-directed group, or from the parent-directed group. The same trends were also shown to occur in both groups. There were no significant differences between the two groups in the pre-treatment and post-treatment scores of the children in the assessment tests that were conducted, and the Full Scale IQ scores for all 23 children in the study increased by an average of 25 points. (Sallows & Graupner: 2005, p.424) These results indicate that cheaper intervention programs which do away with the expensive clinical setting could be a viable alternative in the future, entailing access for a wider range of families and a larger number of infants diagnosed with autism. The practical relevance of this study for the treatment of autism among young infants is thus enormous especially for the low-income families who cannot afford expensive clinical treatments.
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