Numerous studies have found that a large proportion of children with autism who received early intensive behavioral therapy showed significant gains in cognitive, social, language and academic skills. However, there has been little information on whether or not this improvement was reflected in normalized brain functioning within structures known to function abnormally in autism. Follow up data was collected at age 16 for 15 adolescents who had participated in intensive behavioral treatment for autism as toddlers. Children who showed larger gains (n = 10) were compared with those who showed more moderate gains (n = 3) to examine regions of interest during an emotion recognition task. Those who made larger gains during treatment showed brain activation patterns in the amygdala and fusiform gyrus that were more like the activation patterns of typically developing controls (n = 6). Children who showed less robust response to treatment showed brain activation patterns that were significantly different from their higher functioning counterparts and more like those described for children with autism. Although the sample size was small, these findings suggest a trend toward supporting the hypothesis that early intensive behavioral treatment and processes underlying brain plasticity may result in remediation of abnormal brain functioning at least for children who show large improvements during treatment.
|Advisor:||Baker, Robert T.|
|School:||Adler School of Professional Psychology|
|School Location:||United States -- Illinois|
|Source:||DAI-B 75/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Psychobiology, Microbiology, Health sciences|
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