Does Early Intervention Help? 

Although scientific evidence and results are still limited, studieshave found that early intervention therapy methods generally yield positive cognitive results for children on the autism spectrum in the long run., Therefore, the earlier you can begin intervention methods with your child, the more likely they will increase capabilities and skill sets. 

What Types of Early Intervention are Available? 

The most well-known and adopted early intervention method for children with ASD is Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA). ABA originated in a 1987 study by Ole Ivar Lovaas who claimed that with strict and repetitive one-on-one drills, ASD children would eventually reach the same cognitive and language capabilities as their neurotypical peers. Although the results were not conclusive, ABA therapy was quickly and widely accepted. Multiple therapies have since developed, but most are based upon the same ideas and tactics. Listed below are some of the most prevalent therapy techniques. 

ABA-Based Therapies: 

Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) teaches kids to respond to verbal prompts and focuses on development aspects like self-management, personal incentives, and communication. For instance, if a child asks for a snack, the parent or trainer only provides the snack when the child can verbalize the name of the snack they want. 

The Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) moves original ABA drills to an informal play setting and allows for children to use their own interests and preferences to build skills and improve language.,

Strategies for Teaching Based on Autism Research (STAR) is a less-specific therapy option that uses PRT techniques in tandem with other research-based theories tactics.

Non-ABA Therapies:

Preschool Autism Communication Trial (PACT) functions on a different base of ideals and aims than those based on ABA. There is no strict set of rules or drills and parents are taught to recognize and respond to their child’s communication attempts. The aim of this strategy is to work with the children and aspires to remove the negative stigmas surrounding autism and living with ASD.,


As you search for the best intervention therapies for your child, remember that few studies provide evidence that any specific treatment is more successful as each child has different needs. Specialists suggest that early intervention techniques adopted should be specific to your child, fluid with their progress, and involve parent training and support.,1,2

For more information on over 20 different types of intervention therapies for all ages, take a look at the ASD video glossary.

1) Infants & Young Children, 18(2), pages 74-85 (2005)
2) Therapies for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders, Comparative Effectiveness Reviews, 26 (2011)
3) Spectrum News (2014) 
4) Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 55(1), pages 3-9 (1987) 
5) Pivotal response treatments for autism: Communication, social, & academic development, Book, (2006) 
6) Stages Learning Materials: PTR 
7) Pediatrics, 125(1), pages 17-23 (2010)
8) Early Intervention yields big benefits for children with autism, (2010)
9) The Star Program, 
10) Enfance, 1(1), pages 119-131 (2019)
11) Parent training may lead to lasting gains in autism features, (2016) 
12) Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45(9), pages 2917-27 (2015)
13) Pediatrics, 125(1), pages 17-23 (2010) 

Scroll to Top