The literature shows that, typically, the younger a child with austism spectrum disorder (ASD) is when s/he receives treatment, the better the outcomes.This includes improved adaptive functioning, decreased autism symptoms, increased intellectual functioning and developmental growth, as well as an increase in quality of life.
The graph depicts the aggregated effect size (Cohen’s d) for each age group. The effect size allows researchers to show the magnitude of outcomes given the use of different measurement tools. Researchers collected standardized score from the literature and calculated effect sizes for all of the data, then aggregated the effect sizes for each variable for each age group. As shown on the graph, effect sizes are broken down into large (>0.8), medium (0.79-0.5), small (0.49-0.2), and no effect (<0.2).
How to use this visualization:
The graphic below shows trend lines for the effectiveness of treatment on a variety of clinical outcomes important to children with ASD. The closer a score is to “1”, the more effective the treatment. You may hover over each line to see the specific data points that created that line, or hover over an age to see the data points across outcomes categories. The flower chart on the right allows you to see how each outcome effect size changes with age of intervention by sliding the button to the age you wish to examine.
Data from over 35 articles meeting medium to high quality standards were synthesized to calculate the impact of treatment on children by age of initial treatment. We used the metric of effect sizes to compare across studies, a standard approach in health services research. An additional detailed representation of the effect sizes by age can be found here.
To read more and to see a list of our references, click here.
This variable measures the severity of autism symptoms a child displays depending on age, including communication skills, social interaction skills, play skills, and stereotypical behavior.
This variable measures the ability for an individual to change a destructive behavior into a constructive, socially appropriate behavior.
This variable measures the child’s cognitive abilities.
This variable measures the extent to which a child has developed relative to his her age.