Supporting Research

Our program is based on the methodology developed by O. Ivar Lovaas, Ph.D., and encompasses more than 35 years of scientific research.  Specifically, O. Ivar Lovaas, Ph.D. and his associates (Lovaas, 1987: Lovaas & Smith, 1988: McEachin, Smith, and Lovaas, 1993), have published controlled evaluations of the effectiveness of a behavioral treatment program that focuses on early intervention, parent involvement, and high intensity.

Lovaas (1987) studied three groups of children who received either an average of 40 hours of one-to-one instruction per week, 10 hours or less of parent training per week, or no instruction at all.  Nine of the 19 children receiving intensive instruction successfully passed first grade in regular classes without any special intervention and performed within the normal range on standardized tests of intelligence.  Only 1 of the 40 children in the two remaining groups achieved such an outcome.

In 1993, a follow-up study by McEachin, Smith, and Lovaas documented that the significant gains made in the original study were real and long lasting.

In December 1999, the U.S. Surgeon General released the first-ever report on mental health.  This report included an overview of autism and described the 1987 study by Lovaas and concluded that it was a “well designed study”.  Copies of the entire report are available at www.surgeongeneral.gov or by calling the Government Printing Office at (202) 512-1800.  Today, some 15 years after the original study, this methodology remains the only one supported by scientific long-term outcome data.

In addition, the New York State Department of Health, Early Intervention Program sponsored a study by an independent panel of professionals and parents looking into effective treatments for children ages 0-3 years.  The only methodology recommended was applied behavior analysis (ABA).  You can order copies of the guidelines by calling New York State Department of Health, Early Intervention Program at (518) 439-7286 or (518) 473-7016.  Currently, research efforts are underway to replicate the results of Lovaas (1987).  Preliminary results can be found at www.wiautism.com/prelimin.htm.