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J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2012 Sep;119(9):1011-21. doi: 10.1007/s00702-012-0792-0. Epub 2012 Mar 30.

The Frankfurt early intervention program FFIP for preschool aged children with autism spectrum disorder: a pilot study.

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  • 1Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, JW Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, 60528 Frankfurt, Germany.


Different early intervention programs, developed predominantly in the US, for preschool aged children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have been published. Several systematic review articles including a German Health Technology Assessment on behavioural and skill-based early interventions in children with ASD reported insufficient evidence and a substantial problem of generalisability to the German context. In Germany, approx. 2-5 h early intervention is supported by social services. Here, we report the results of a 1 year pre-post pilot study on a developmentally based social pragmatic approach, the Frankfurt Early Intervention program FFIP. In FFIP, individual 2:1, behaviourally and developmentally based therapy with the child is combined with parent training and training of kindergarten teachers. Treatment frequency is 2 h/week. Outcome measures were the Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Scales II (VABS), mental age and the ADOS severity score. Improvements after 1 year were observed for the VABS socialisation scale and the mental age quotient/IQ (medium effect sizes). Results are comparable with several other studies with a similar or slightly higher therapeutic intensity implementing comparable or different early intervention methods or programs. Compared to most high-intensity programs (30-40 h/week), lower cognitive gains were observed. Results have to be replicated and assessed by a randomized-controlled study before any final conclusions can be drawn.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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