Can’t We All Just Get Along? Combining Behavioral and Developmental Naturalistic Interventions for Young Children With Autism
Laura Schreibman, Ph.D., (University of California at San Diego)
Abstract: Our increased ability to identify and diagnose children with autism at earlier and earlier ages provides us with both a huge opportunity and a huge challenge. Our knowledge of the significant, potential benefits of effective early intervention allows us to take advantage of the early intervention window. The challenge is how we can best fill this window. While there is a substantial research base supporting the effectiveness of behavioral interventions across the lifespan of autism, research has demonstrated that interventions based upon the principles derived via applied behavior analysis are being modified to meet the needs of the toddler autism population now being served. Two main modifications seem evident. The first is a move toward more “naturalistic” behavioral interventions, which are more child-directed and occur in more environmental contexts. The second is the integration of principles derived from developmental psychology. In fact, it appears that both of these approaches (behavioral and developmental) have evolved simultaneously in the development of early interventions. Also, it appears that there may be an increased “acceptance” of developmental contributions that are not directly tied to the behavioral model. Where are the common grounds of these approaches that impact intervention? What are commonalities in treatment components, implementation strategies, and assessment? This talk will focus on these issues and also point to research needs for both behavioral and developmental science.
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