A recent study by Penn Medicine researchers published online ahead of print in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry found that the costs associated with the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM), one evidence-based treatment for young children with autism, were fully offset after only two years following intervention due to reductions in children's use of other services.
The Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) is designed for children with autism ages 12 to 48 months. The program includes a developmental curriculum and a set of teaching procedures that are delivered by therapy teams and parents either in a clinic or the child's home. A randomized trial of 48 children between 18 and 30 months of age who were diagnosed with ASD found that children who received ESDM had better cognitive and behavioral outcomes than children who received community treatment. The present study of associated costs used data that was collected during that trial and for two years after the trial was completed.
Intervention - Children - ESDM - Costs - Children
During the intervention, children who received the ESDM had average annual health-related costs that were higher by about $14,000 than those of children who received community-based treatment, although this difference was not statistically significant. The higher cost of ESDM was partially offset during the intervention period because children in the ESDM group used fewer community services like early intervention and speech therapy. In the post-intervention period, compared with children who had not received ESDM, children in the ESDM group used fewer early intervention services, less occupational or physical therapy, and less speech therapy, resulting in cost savings of about $19,000 per year per child. While the exact reasons for this reduction in service use aren't known, it is likely that children who were in the ESDM group used fewer services because they had made developmental gains...
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