Autism spectrum disorder (hereinafter referred to as ASD) is a lifetime developmental disorder, which reflects in problems with social interaction, social communication, imagination, and flexible thinking. Early intervention, which includes ASD specific approaches, is key for child’s general development and their independence.
The thesis introduces a programme of Early intensive intervention for preschool children with ASD, which was conceptualized and implemented by the Centre for Autism between 2010 and 2012. The aim of the programme was to provide knowledge, strategies and skills for children with ASD that will enable them an independent inclusion into a mainstream education system as well as into their living environment.
The research, which will be presented in detail in the empiric part of this thesis, included 11 children between the age of 2.5 and 6 years. They received a comprehensive and differential diagnosis with specific diagnostic means adjusted to ASD (i.e. ADOS, 3Di) and a pedagogical assessment of child’s functioning (i.e. PEP-3) to measure their development.
Based on the assessment, work with the child was planned using specific approaches for working with people with ASD (e.g. TEACCH, PECS, DIR Floortime). The analysis of the results, which were obtained through measurements in six different fields, showed that children who attended the Early intensive treatment for preschool children with ASD programme 2.5 to 3 months and received 38 to 144 hours of treatments progressed by 5.1 months of developmental age on average in all six assessed areas.
Furthermore, the results clearly show that an early intensive intervention, which is thoroughly planned and implemented using specific tools and approaches for ASD, can in a relatively short time span substantially improve child’s functioning, enable easier achievement of goals, and promote inclusion in all fields of child’s life.