Section 55
Chapter 54,751

One-year follow-up of the outcome of a randomized controlled trial of a home-based intervention programme for children with autism and developmental delay and their families

Rickards, A.L.; Walstab, J.E.; Wright-Rossi, R.A.; Simpson, J.; Reddihough, D.S.

Child Care Health and Development 35(5): 593-602


ISSN/ISBN: 0305-1862
PMID: 19508318
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2214.2009.00953.x
Accession: 054750802

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There is debate about the type and intensity of early childhood intervention that is most helpful for children with developmental problems. The aim of the study was to determine whether a home-based programme provided over 12 months resulted in sustained improvement in development and behaviour 12 months after the intervention ceased. The characteristics of the children and families who benefited most from the intervention were also studied. Randomized controlled trial. Participants A total of 59 children, aged 3-5 years, attending two early childhood intervention centres in Melbourne, Australia. Intervention Half of the subjects received an additional home-based programme consisting of 40 weekly visits. Bayley Scales of Infant Development and Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence Revised, Preschool Behaviour Checklist, Bayley Behaviour Rating Scale and Behaviour Screening Questionnaire. All tests administered pre-intervention, following the intervention and 12 months later. Secondary outcome measures Family stress, support and empowerment. Fifty-four children completed the assessments 12 months after conclusion of the intervention. Compared with the control group, improvement in aspects of cognitive development in the children who received the extra intervention was sustained 1 year later (P= 0.007) while significant behavioural differences post intervention were not. Analyses of the data by the Reliable Change Index indicated improvement of clinical significance occurred in non-verbal areas. In contrast to the control group who deteriorated, language skills in the intervention group remained stable. Improvements were significantly associated with higher stress in the families. Improvements following the provision of a home-based programme to preschool children with developmental disabilities were sustained 1 year later. Children from highly stressed families appeared to benefit most, reinforcing the importance of involving families in early childhood intervention programmes.

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