A parent-led therapy that supports the social development of babies displaying early signs of autism has significantly reduced the likelihood of an autism diagnosis being made in early childhood, according to world-first research led by CliniKids at the Telethon Kids Institute.
The study found that a clinician diagnosis of autism at age three was only a third as likely in children who received the pre-emptive therapy (iBASIS-VIPP) compared to those who received treatment as usual.
iBASIS-VIPP is a parent-mediated, video-aided feedback therapy which aims to optimise social and communication development in infants aged 9-14 months by helping parents understand and adapt to their infant’s communication style.
iBASIS is a study within the British Autism Study of Infant Siblings network to assess whether a parent-support programme could have a useful impact on parents and infant siblings of a child with autism. We are looking specifically at whether parents would value the intervention programme and whether there would be an impact on later child development.
The intervention is aimed to help parents understand their infant's communication style and adapt responses to promote optimal social and communication development.
This is the first experimental trial of a targeted intervention at the end of the 1st year of life in infant siblings of children already diagnosed with autism.
Through the intervention, we aim to shift aspects of behaviours, brain function and genetic expression.
VIPP stands for Video Interaction to Promote Positive Parenting.
The study claims to be the first evidence that a pre-emptive intervention during infancy could support children’s social development to the extent they fall below the clinical autism diagnosis threshold.
According to Professor Whitehouse:
“The use of iBASIS-VIPP resulted in three times fewer diagnoses of autism at age three,”
“No trial of a pre-emptive infant intervention, applied prior to diagnosis, has to date shown such an effect to impact diagnostic outcomes–until now.”
Does preemptive intervention compared with usual care reduce the severity of autism symptoms and the likelihood of an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis in infants showing early signs of ASD?
In this randomized clinical trial of 103 infants showing early behavioral signs of ASD, preemptive intervention led to a statistically significant reduction in the severity of ASD behaviors across early childhood. Infants who received the preemptive intervention had lower odds of meeting diagnostic criteria for ASD (7%) than those who received usual care (21%) at age 3 years, with a number needed to treat of 7 participants.
This study found that a preemptive intervention reduced ASD diagnostic behaviors when used at the time atypical development first emerges during infancy.
Receipt of a preemptive intervention for ASD from age 9 months among a sample of infants showing early signs of ASD led to reduced ASD symptom severity across early childhood and reduced the odds of an ASD diagnosis at age 3 years.