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Autism Research and Treatment
Volume 2014, Article ID 964704, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/964704
Research Article

Measuring Outcome in an Early Intervention Program for Toddlers with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Use of a Curriculum-Based Assessment

1Department of Psychology, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0109, USA
2Department of Psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medical College, 21 Bloomingdale Road, Rogers Building, White Plains, NY 10605, USA
3Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA
4Child and Adolescent Services Research Center and Autism Discovery Institute, Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego, 3020 Children’s Way, San Diego, CA 92123, USA
5Department of Neurosciences, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA

Received 30 June 2013; Accepted 5 January 2014; Published 10 March 2014

Academic Editor: Herbert Roeyers

Copyright © 2014 Elizabeth C. Bacon et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Measuring progress of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) during intervention programs is a challenge faced by researchers and clinicians. Typically, standardized assessments of child development are used within research settings to measure the effects of early intervention programs. However, the use of standardized assessments is not without limitations, including lack of sensitivity of some assessments to measure small or slow progress, testing constraints that may affect the child’s performance, and the lack of information provided by the assessments that can be used to guide treatment planning. The utility of a curriculum-based assessment is discussed in comparison to the use of standardized assessments to measure child functioning and progress throughout an early intervention program for toddlers with risk for ASD. Scores derived from the curriculum-based assessment were positively correlated with standardized assessments, captured progress masked by standardized assessments, and early scores were predictive of later outcomes. These results support the use of a curriculum-based assessment as an additional and appropriate method for measuring child progress in an early intervention program. Further benefits of the use of curriculum-based measures for use within community settings are discussed.