Early autism treatment improves overall outcomes by up to 60%

The literature shows that, typically, the younger a child with austism spectrum disorder (ASD) is when s/he receives treatment, the better the outcomes.This includes improved adaptive functioning, decreased autism symptoms, increased intellectual functioning and developmental growth, as well as an increase in quality of life.

How to use this visualization:
The graphic below shows trend lines for the effectiveness of treatment on a variety of clinical outcomes important to children with ASD. The closer a score is to “1”, the more effective the treatment. You may hover over each line to see the specific data points that created that line, or hover over an age to see the data points across outcomes categories. The flower chart on the right allows you to see how each outcome effect size changes with age of intervention by sliding the button to the age you wish to examine.

Methodology and literature

Data from over 35 articles meeting medium to high quality standards were synthesized to calculate the impact of treatment on children by age of initial treatment. We used the metric of effect sizes to compare across studies, a standard approach in health services research. An additional detailed representation of the effect sizes by age can be found here.

To read more and to see a list of our references, click here.

Outcomes Categories
  • Autistic Symptoms
  • Adaptive Functioning
  • Intellectual Functioning
  • Development Rate
  • Socioaffective

The Effectiveness of Intervention based on Age of Intitial Treatment

Outcome Comparison By Age
  • Treatment is less effective, for all outcomes, the later children receive treatment
  • Intellectual functioning is most negatively impacted by late treatment