A family sitting in a garden

Early intervention which focuses on helping parents understand and communicate with their autistic children makes a positive difference for those children as they get older, a study published in The Lancet today reveals. This study is the first of its kind to find a sustained impact on children on the autism spectrum through to the ages of seven to 11.

The intervention the researchers studied involved parents watching videos of themselves interacting with their child, with a therapist giving them feedback about their interactions and the child’s patterns of communication. This allowed the parents to better understand their child and communicate back appropriately.

The research confirms what we've found in over 50 years working with families and children – that parents must be helped to understand their child’s autism so they can be properly involved in decisions and in support and intervention for their child. We know that families are often on a steep learning curve about how best to support their child after receiving a diagnosis. All families deserve access to the right advice and support, and we hope to see the NHS rolling out support like this more widely across the country, now that this study has shown how successful it can be for parents and children.

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