Research Finds Better Treatments for Autism

Research Finds Better Treatments for Autism

New research studies conclude that developmental treatment approaches address the core symptoms of autism better than traditional behavioral therapies.

Online PR News – 05-November-2020 – This Thursday, November 5, Josh Feder, M.D., will be presenting live via Zoom at the 2020 Annual DIRFloortime Conference of the Interdisciplinary Council on Development and Learning (ICDL). Dr. Feder will announce news of recently published research reviews demonstrating the better efficacy of developmental approaches to intensive autism treatment in contrast to more widespread behavioral approaches.

Dr. Feder is a child psychiatrist in private practice in Solana Beach, California and Medical Director of Positive Development, Llc. His presentation is titled Top of the heap? Learn why developmental approaches to Autism Spectrum Disorder are becoming the preferred ones and how to tell people about it. He will overview the newest published reviews of the autism treatment outcome research. New conclusions are that developmental treatment approaches have the most meaningful outcomes and highest treatment effect sizes; they effectively reduce the core symptoms of autism, in contrast to traditional applied behavioral analysis (ABA). Furthermore, new genetic studies support the developmental treatment approaches which target the core symptoms of autism, as studies point to similar genetic predispositions for underlyingl developmental deficits.

The November 5th presentation by Dr. Feder will provide crucial information for physicians, therapists, parents, and the general public. This news could help thousands of families who need better treatment for their children and teens with autism. As an example, Aetna recently denied coverage for a 5-year-old girl with autism who was making excellent progress in treatment which used the developmental approach. Aetna cited the reason for denial of coverage: claiming that the Floortime developmental treatment method is experimental based on two old, inconclusive papers from 2006 and 2007. Andrea Davis, Ph.D., Founder of Greenhouse Therapy Center in Pasadena, California and President of the DIR/Floortime Coalition of California, helped the patient's mother file an appeal of the denial of coverage. Diane Cullinane, M.D., Founder of Professional Child Development Associates in Pasadena, California and Dr. Josh Feder helped write the appeal which summarized and supplied over 1000 pages of newer research studies and reviews concluding developmental approaches are not experimental at all, but rather are more effective treatment approaches. However, Aetna denied the thorough appeal, referring once again to their outdated research.

New studies show the effectiveness of developmental approaches, one of which is the DIR Floortime model. Floortime embraces the child's unique passions and strengths and attunes adult interaction styles to the child's emotional and sensory needs in order to support social-emotional and cognitive development. Providers of this treatment focus on optimizing a child's relationships with their parents, siblings, therapists, and friends. Examples of how these providers are distinctive are that they encourage parents to offer emotional and sensory co-regulation for a child in high distress rather than an ABA approach of "planned ignoring" and they respect the autistic child's differences versus attempting to "extinguish" sensory self-soothing strategies. Floortime aims to support the growth of the child and adolescent's warmth, spontaneity, initiative, responsiveness, purposefulness, imagination, creativity, empathy, and complex thinking.

Dr. Feder will unpack dense new genetic research as well as the excellent news of research on more effective treatment approaches for autism. His presentation will help participants know how to share the news of the treatment outcome studies with professionals, funding agencies, and families. The live Zoom event will take place twice on Thursday November 5, 2020 at 10am Pacific/1pm Eastern and 5pm Pacific/8pm Eastern. Register here:

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Andrea Davis, Ph.D.
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