UC Davis Today: Early intervention lessens autism symptoms

Early intervention on autism

Early intervention lessens autism symptoms

Progress on autism

Progress on autism

Produced by Kristen Simoes and Ken Zukin
(7 min 2 sec)

Scientists have found that an intensive early intervention therapy is effective for improving cognition and language skills among very young children with autism. The study is the first to demonstrate that such an approach can normalize brain activity — as in the example of Matthew Williams, who benefited from participating in the Early Start Denver Model intervention program at the UC Davis MIND Institute.

The research, by Sally Rogers, a UC Davis professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and Geraldine Dawson, professor and chief science officer of Autism Speaks, shows that early intervention normalizes their brain activity, decreases their autism symptoms and improves their social skills. Time magazine recognized the research as one of the top 10 medical breakthroughs of 2012. Dawson directed the study.

With a highly ranked School of Medicine, UC Davis is shaping public health in education, research and patient care with groundbreaking research on issues like autism. 

(Kalina Stogsdill uses play therapy to work with 2-year-old Matthew Williams. New research offers hope that some learning techniques can reduce the symptoms of the developmental disorder known as autism. Karin Higgins/UC Davis photo)


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