Recommendation ID

Are comprehensive early interventions that combine multiple elements and are delivered by parents and teachers (for example, the Learning Experiences – an Alternative Program for Preschoolers and their Parents [LEAP] model) effective in managing the core features of autism and coexisting difficulties (such as adaptive behaviour and developmental skills) in pre‑school children?

Any explanatory notes
(if applicable)

Many autistic children are diagnosed in the pre‑school period when service provision is advice and support to parents and professionals in nursery or early years educational settings. There is evidence from one moderate-sized trial that adequately supervised comprehensive programmes can help with the core features of autism and coexisting difficulties. However, the quality of the trial was low.

The research programme should be in 4 stages:

1. Develop a manualised programme suitable to UK public service settings (health services, early years education, and so on).

2. Test its feasibility and acceptability in pilot trials with blinded assessment of outcome.

3. Formally evaluate the outcomes on core features of autism and coexisting difficulties in a large-scale trial, including health economic analysis.

4. Conduct a series of smaller trials to determine the elements, length and intensity required to ensure effectiveness of the programme, as well as longer-term outcomes.

Source guidance details

Comes from guidance
Autism spectrum disorder in under 19s: support and management
Date issued
August 2013

Other details

Is this a recommendation for the use of a technology only in the context of research? No  
Is it a recommendation that suggests collection of data or the establishment of a register?   No  
Last Reviewed 30/06/2021