Effect of Multidisciplinary Intervention on Clinical Outcomes of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Mumbai, India
Purpose: To analyse clinical outcomes in terms of functional changes in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), before and after receiving a multidisciplinary developmental intervention programme.
Methods: Structured goal-oriented multidisciplinary intervention, individualised to each child, was implemented through 5 child development centres in Mumbai, India, in 2014-2015. Secondary data analysis of 38 children diagnosed with ASD, in the age group of 2.1 - 6.1 years, was conducted. All children received occupational therapy and speech therapy, and parental counselling was also done. The average number of intervention sessions were 48-72 for occupational therapy (twice or thrice a week), 24-48 for speech therapy (once or twice a week) and 5-6 for parental counselling (once a month). Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) and Vineland Social Maturity Scale (VSMS) were used for assessment, before and after intervention.
Results: Mean positive difference in CARS total scores through paired t-test was 4.18 (p < 0.0001). Significant positive changes in functional ability were observed in most of the sub-scales (relating to people; object use; visual response; verbal and non-verbal communication; taste, smell and touch response and use; level and consistency of intellectual response and general impression). Paired t-test also showed significant positive changes on all VSMS sub-scales, except Socialisation.
Conclusions: The model used in this multidisciplinary intervention, and adherence to its protocols, has the potential to improve functional ability (or the child’s adaptation to his/her condition) in children with ASD, in a region with limited awareness of developmental disabilities.
Limitations: Separate effects of factors outside the intervention could not be tested due to inadequate sample sizes for sub-analyses. Results also need to be validated by tests that do not depend on parental reporting (e.g., CARS and VSMS) but assess the performance of the child instead.
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