Another plug for early intervention with kids showing signs of Autism.
In a study published last Friday in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, researchers found an increase in more typical social behaviors and changes in brain activity of young children, after two years of a behavioral therapy called the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) therapy. This is a type of interactive therapy that uses the ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) methods of teaching skills.
The results of the study showed normalization of behavior and brain activity when a child is looking at faces compared to inanimate objects. Children with autism have been shown to focus more on objects than faces and eyes.
This is great news of course and exciting for many families.
There is always a flip side of anything that changes people’s fundamentals.
Temple Grandin has said in effect, that we don’t want to “over-normalize” kids on the spectrum because “nothing would ever get done.” (Smile…my sentiment) And further, she advises: “These kids don’t distracted with the all social aspects of stuff, and get down to business.” Again, that’s my way of interpreting and paraphrasing her wise sentiments. As with all “disabilities” caution is needed when fiddling with people. Intervention and skill building is great and a primary goal of course; just not at too great an expense. One sometimes unintended expense is devaluing the person as is, and another may be in losing valuable qualities of the person, or experiences that might help in the long run.
Of course, I’m fully in favor of interventions in general and this one in particular is intriguing and hopeful. But it’s always good to consider different points of view.