facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Focusing kids with autism improves speech

June 22, 2012 at 2:00 AM   |   Comments

LOS ANGELES, June 22 (UPI) -- Having adults engage the attention of autistic preschool children by gesturing and pointing to toys increases children's language skills, U.S. researchers say.

First author Connie Kasari of the University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues said the study involved 40 children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder at ages 3 and 4, who received the intensive therapy program or standard intervention. The children were evaluated at ages 8-9, and all of the children in the study had attended preschool for 30 hours each week, Kasari said.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, found children who started the attention-focusing therapy earlier had more advanced linguistic skills at age 8.

Those who learned to point or direct an adult's attention to an object of interest at ages 3 and 4 also developed more advanced language skills at age 8, while children who showed greater flexibility in playing with objects at age 3 or 4 demonstrated better memory and other cognitive skills at age 8.

"Our findings show that therapy focused on such basic skills as pointing, sharing and engaging in play can have considerable long-term effects as children with autism spectrum disorders grow and learn to express themselves with words," Kasari said in a statement.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Featured UPI Collection
trending
Celebrity Couples of 2014 [PHOTOS]

Celebrity Couples of 2014 [PHOTOS]

Most Popular
1
Daughters more likely than sons to care for elder parents
2
India asks Pepsi to cut down on sugar in its soft drinks
3
Child vaccination rates are high, CDC says
4
Yoga guru BKS Iyengar dies at 95
5
NIH to test safety of Ebola vaccine candidate
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback