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Research

As part of our commitment to providing the most effective treatment for children with autism, UK Young Autism Project provides research-based ABA programmes. We have published research with significant findings for ABA provision in the UK, putting us at the forefront of research based provision.

Research shows

  • With early intervention, a sizeable minority of children have been able to achieve typical educational and intellectual functioning by 7 years of age.
  • These children have been mainstreamed into regular classrooms and have advanced successfully through the school system without additional assistance.
  • They show significant increases in intellectual functioning and perform within normal ranges on standardised tests of intelligence.
  • They also appear indistinguishable from their peers in measures of social and emotional functioning.
  • For those who do not achieve typical functioning, sizeable improvements in language and other important skills have been achieved, while inappropriate behaviours decreased.

Ground-breaking in the UK

As part of the UCLA multi-site Young Autism Project, UK Young Autism Project conducted an outcome study comparing progress after one year of treatment for 44 children receiving our services in the UK. Between intake and follow up, participants improved significantly on IQ, visual-spatial IQ, language comprehension, expressive language, social skills, motor skills and adaptive behaviour. Mean IQ for this group of children increased 16 points after one year of treatment.

This study is ground-breaking in the field of ABA as it is one of few outcome studies to be conducted in the UK. Our findings are consistent with previous studies demonstrating the effectiveness of ABA treatment for children with autism.

Hayward, D., Eikeseth, S., Gale, C., Morgan, S. (2009). Assessing Progress during Treatment for Young Children with Autism Receiving Intensive Behavioural Interventions.Autism, 13 (6), 613 – 633.

UK Young Autism Project has also published research into the levels of intensity of supervision for children receiving early intensive behavioural intervention (EIBI), after 1 year of treatment. In a comparison of EIBI and special education teaching, those children who received up to 37 hours a week of ABA showed significant improvements in adaptive behaviours, and maladaptive behaviours.

Eikeseth, S., Hayward, D.W., Gale, C.M., Gitlesen, J.P., Eldevik, S. (2009). Intensity of Supervision and Outcome for Preschool Aged Children Receiving Early and Intensive Behavioral Interventions: A Preliminary Study.Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 3(1), 67 – 73.

The service model provided by UK Young Autism Project is unique in the UK. This paper outlines key variables that are common to programmes which have been empirically validated through outcome research:

Outcome research has shown that although early and intensive behavioural intervention (ABA) may produce significant improvement across a range of areas, not all ABA provisions are equal.

Important variables for a successful programme include:

  • Treatment in the child’s natural environment
  • Intensive intervention
  • Treatment based on ABA
  • Staff training and management
  • Parental involvement
  • Evaluation of progress
  • A research-based provision
Hayward, D.W., Gale, C.M., Eikeseth, S. (2009). Intensive Behavioral Intervention for Young Children with Autism: A Research-Based Service Model. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 3 (3), 571-580.

Further UK Young Autism Project Research

UK Young Autism Project has also conducted research into other aspects of the behavioural treatment process:

Gale C., Eikeseth S., Rudrud E. (2011). Functional assessment and behavioural intervention for eating difficulties in children with autism: A study conducted in the natural environment using parents and ABA tutors as therapists. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 41(10), pp. 1383-1396.
Lanovaz, M.J., Rapp, J. T., & Fletcher, S.E. (2010) Expanding Functional Analysis of Automatically Reinforced Behavior Using a 3-Component Multiple Schedule. European Journal of Behavior Analysis. 11. 17.27
Eikeseth, S., & Hayward, D.W. (2009) The discrimination of object names and object sounds in children with autism: A procedure for teaching verbal comprehension. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 42, 807-812.
Lanovas, M., J., Fletcher, S. E., & Rapp, T. (2009) Identifying Stimuli that Alter Immediate and Subsequent Levels of Vocal Stereotypy: A Further Analysis of Functionally Matched Stimulation. Behavior Modification, 33 (5), 682-704

Further Reading

Teaching Manuals

Lovaas, O. I. Teaching Individuals with Developmental Delays (2003) Pro-Ed, 8700 Shoal Creek Blvd, Austin, TX 78757-6897
00 44 800 897 3202

Research Articles

Cohen, H., Amarine-Dickens, M., & Smith, T. (2006). Early Intensive Behavioral Treatment: Replication of the UCLA Model in a Community Setting. Developmental and Behavioral Paediatrics, 27, 145-155.
Howard, J. S., Sparkman, C. R., Cohen, H. G., Green, G., & Stanislaw, H. (2005). A comparison of intensive behavior analytic and eclectic treatment for young children with autism. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 26, 359-383.
Lovaas, O. I. (1987) Behavioural treatment and normal educational and intellectual functioning in young autistic children. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 55, 3-9
Lovaas, O. I., & Smith, T. (1989) A comprehensive behavioural theory of autistic children: Paradigm for research and treatment. Journal of Behavioural Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 20, 17-29
McEachin, J. J., Smith, T., & Lovaas, O. I. (1993) Long-term outcome for children with autism who received early intensive behavioural treatment. American Journal of Mental Retardation, 97 (4), 359-372 (See also the commentaries on this study)
Sallows, G. O. & Graupner, T. D. (2005). Intensive behavioral treatment for children with autism: four-year outcome and predictors. American Journal of Mental Retardation, 110, 417-438.
Eikeseth, S., Smith, T., Jahr, E. & Eldevik, S. (2007) Outcome for Children Who Began Intensive Behavioral Treatment Between Ages 4 and 7: A Comparison Controlled Study. Behavior Modification, 31 (3), 264-278.

Parent Accounts

Maurice, Catherine. Let Me Hear Your Voice (1993) Alfred A. Knopf, Publisher, New York
Johnson, Carol and Crowder, Julia Autism, From Tragedy to Triumph (1994) Branden Publishing Company, 17 Station Street, OX 843, Brookline Village, Boston MA 02147

Please note that ALL publications listed may include interventions or methodologies that UK Young Autism Project does not employ, such as aversive interventions. For our model, parents and tutors should follow guidelines demonstrated and discussed during supervision from our staff, as well as those detailed in team meeting and other clinical notes, compiled for each individual client.