Evidence-Based Intervention

March 2, 2017


BUFFALO, NY -  The latest study released by the Institute for Autism Research (IAR) shows more promise that a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder no longer guarantees a difficult life for children.  According to the findings, summerMAX, the IAR’s treatment program for children with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder (HFASD), can successfully be applied in a community-based setting. 

“The IAR wanted to determine whether a local community service agency could feasibly implement the summerMAX program and achieve the same successful outcomes that we saw in university-based trials,” explains IAR co-director Marcus L. Thomeer, PhD.

 To do this, the IAR partnered with Autism Services Inc.  The agency independently managed and administered all aspects of the summerMAX program and found it to be highly effective.  Children demonstrated increased understanding of nonliteral language and use of social skills, and a substantial decrease in the severity of autism spectrum symptoms. 

“This was an important finding because it suggests that community agency providers can achieve similar treatment gains in applied settings,” said James P. Donnelly, PhD, a co-investigator on the study. 

The study was funded by the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation and the findings appear the December 2016 Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.  

Click here to read more about the IAR's latest study.