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Educating Children with Autism
et al., 1984) and social interaction development (Strain, 1987) was compared with that of a comparison group treated at another autism treatment program, with results documenting more positive developmental progress by children in the experimental program. More recently, a summary of case reports of the long-term progress of the first six children in the LEAP program is now available (Strain and Hoyson, 2000), but without comparisons or controls. The children ranged in age from 30 to 53 months at the onset of treatment, and they scored in the moderate to severe range of autism on the CARS (Schopler et al., 1988). By the time of program exit, and continuing until the children were 10 years old, the CARS scores for these children fell beneath the cutoff for autism. Large decreases in noncompliance were demonstrated in videotaped samples of parent-child interactions, both at program exit and when the children were 10 years old. There were also clinically significant increases in the amount of time the children spent engaged in positive peer interactions, both at program exit and at age 10. Five of the six children spent their school careers in regular education placements.
Pivotal Response Model
The Pivotal Response Model has reported long-term follow-up on a total of ten children (Koegel et al., 1999b). The first six children had similar language ages at entry, but they differed in their levels of initiating interactions. At the time of follow-up, it was found that higher initiation levels at entry predicted less restrictive school placements, higher adaptive and language test scores, and more appropriate parent-child interactions. The next four children, who displayed low levels of initiation at the time of entry into intervention, were provided with specific training on how to independently initiate interactions. At follow-up, three of the four children trained in self-initiations had placements in regular education settings, as well as impressive outcomes on measures of language pragmatics, adaptive behavior measured by the Vineland (Sparrow et al., 1984), and lower levels of autistic behaviors reflected on the CARS (Schopler et al., 1988). As a group, the 10 children treated with Pivotal Response Training had very good outcomes, but the absence of experimental design leaves it unclear whether these improvements can be attributed directly to the program’s intervention; this is a difficulty that holds true for almost all of the data reported for the ten model programs.
Program evaluation information on the TEACCH model has included consumer satisfaction data from parents, trainees, and replication sites (Mesibov, 1997), as well as objective assessment of parent teaching skills