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J Neural Transm. 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. C.Freitag@em.uni-frankfurt.de


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.

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