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The outcomes of psycho-educational interventions for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) comorbid with severe to moderate intellectual disability (ID) are insufficiently documented. In this prospective study, we examined a developmental individual, interactive and intensive approach, called the ‘3i method’, which is based on play therapy.
Twenty DSM-IV-TR ASD subjects (mean chronological age 63.8 ± 37.8 months; mean developmental age 19.5 ± 6.6 months) were included and followed the 3i method for 24 months. Developmental and behavioural skills were assessed at baseline and after 24 months using the VABS, PEP-R and Nadel Imitation scale. Autism severity was evaluated using the Child Autism Rating Scale (CARS) and the Autism Diagnostic Interview (ADI-R).
After 2 years of the 3i method, our 3 primary outcome variables significantly increased (VABS developmental age of socialization increased by 83%, age of communication by 34%, and Nadel Imitation score by 53%). Almost all VABS and PEP-R domains significantly improved. Additionally, increases in the VABS socialization score were positively correlated with the total number of treatment hours and CARS score; all ADI-R areas significantly decreased; and diagnoses had changed in 47.5% of the subjects (37% for PDD-NOS and even 10.5% for ID without PDD).
Children who followed the 3i method for 2 years had significantly improved behavioural and developmental skills and showed a clear decrease in autism severity. These results suggest that the 3i method may be useful for autistic children by improving their daily interactions with their social environment.
was retrospectively registered on May 20th, 2014 by the French Agency for drug and health (ANSM) under number ID-RCB 2014-A00542–45, reference: B148558–31.