NYMC Faculty Publications

Is Earlier Better? The Relationship between Age When Starting Early Intervention and Outcomes for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Selective Review

Journal Title

Autism Research and Treatment

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Document Type

Review Article

Publication Date



Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences


Although the conventional wisdom is that "earlier is better" when it comes to intervention for children with ASD, it is not clear what evidence exists to support this notion. This review examined a group of studies that addressed outcomes for young children with ASD who started early intervention at a range of ages. The review was selective by including only papers that examined the age of initiation of treatment as well as baseline cognitive, language, or adaptive level and, in addition, employed a method to control for the covariance between early ability level and age of beginning intervention. Fourteen studies were identified and then compared on methods and outcomes. The support for "earlier is better" was mixed, but it was clear that complex relationships among predictor variables need to be explored in order to understand the role of age of starting early intervention for later outcomes.

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