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Early Social Interaction: Children with Autism


The bulk of the available literature and research does not explore the different factors that contribute to the effectiveness of the Early Social Interaction (ESI) program. Therefore, this paper analyzes an article addressing how the involvement of parents in the ESI programs affects the outcome of improved social and communication skills amongst children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). This paper also seeks to determine if the age of entering the ESI program contributes to the anticipated outcomes. The major points covered in this paper will be a critical analysis of how the authors carried out the study and presented the results.

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People should be interested in this topic because ASD is a challenging social issue and anyone can be affected, and thus gaining information on how to intervene is highly recommendable. The paper will cover how the authors have articulated the issue under study by stating the purpose coupled with reviewing relevant literature, the methodology used, and the presentation of the results. The authors did a comprehensive preliminary study and presented the results clearly for easy understanding.


In 2001, the National Research Council (NRC) came up with recommendations to improve social communication outcomes amongst toddlers with ASD using parent-implemented intervention. In 2003, the ESI Project was designed to implement the NRC’s recommendations. Therefore, this article was written to evaluate the effects of ESI on communication outcomes amongst ASD children who had entered the ESI program at 2 years. Specifically, the article sought to establish whether the age of entering ESI affects the outcomes of the program amongst the ASD participants. To gain a substantial understanding of the different issues surrounding this topic, the authors reviewed relevant studies. Sixty-four (64) relevant sources were used in the study including books and peer-reviewed journal articles.

The authors have convinced me that the problem being addressed in this article is socially important. Autism is a challenging social problem, which needs to be addressed compressively by engaging all the key stakeholders especially families, the victims, and healthcare bodies among others. Unfortunately, the authors noted that the available literature does not explore the different aspects that affect the intervention measures to improve communication deficits associated with ASD.

Therefore, the authors gave details describing the current conditions surrounding the different factors that affect the effectiveness of ESI. The article had two research questions, which were clearly stated.

Thirty-five (35) children with ASD were selected for the study. Out of the total participants, seventeen (17) children had entered the ESI at the age of 2 years. The other 18 participants were used as the control group as they entered the program at 3 years of age. The authors gave a detailed account of how the participants were selected including the inclusion and exclusion criteria. A summary of the participants’ demographics was tabulated for better presentation.

The study used “quasi-experimental, one-group, pretest-posttest design” (Wetherby & Woods, 2006, p. 72). The intervention procedures involved five research assistants. Four of them were certified speech-language pathologists while the other one was a specialist in childhood education. The five interventionists had 3 years of experience in dealing with intervention models applied in ASD children and families. The intervention procedure was effective as the interventionists were specifically trained to implement the ESI program in Florida.

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The authors summarized the results using tables. The authors tabulated the findings and explained the different figures as shown in the tables. The results indicated that parents contributed significantly to the improvement of social communication skills in children with ASD under the ESI program. This information addressed the first research question. On the second research question, ASD children exposed to ESI at 2 years of age showed improved social communication and language stage as opposed to the control group that entered the program at 3 years old.

Therefore, the authors provided a recap of the results by concluding that parents ought to be involved in ESI and ASD children should be exposed to the program as early as the condition is detected. Apparently, earlier studies had failed to show the correlation between the dependent variables [the time of entry and the participation of parents] and the ESI’s improved outcomes. Therefore, by establishing this positive correlation, the authors offered new information on the issue.

These results and implications for practice were explained in details under the discussion section. The authors proposed training for parents on the best ways to engage ASD children at an early age. This proposal will affect the parents, the ASD children, and policymakers.

The realization that parent-based intervention procedures can improve social communication skills amongst ASD children was an interesting aspect to me. I would recommend further research to be conducted to measure how changes in the parents’ interaction strategies affect the ESI outcomes. The information presented in this article supports the view that early intervention is beneficial to ASD children. The authors implied that the earlier the intervention, the better for improved ESI outcomes. I would apply the information gained from this article by encouraging parents and other family members to learn and improve their understanding concerning the best ways of assisting children with ASD to be socially integrated by having the essential social and communication skills.


The authors of the article under analysis succeeded in showing that parents and early exposure to ESI play a significant role in improving the anticipated outcomes. According to the findings, the involvement of parents in ESI improves social communication skills amongst ASD children. Additionally, children entering the program at an early age have more improved outcomes as compared to those being exposed to the program at a later age. I chose this conclusion because the authors proved this assertion through a comprehensive academic study.


Wetherby, A., & Woods, J. (2006). Early Social Interaction Project for children with autism spectrum disorders beginning in the second year of life: a preliminary study. TECSE, 26(2), 67-82.

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