• autism;
  • treatment outcome;
  • behavioral;
  • developmental

Summary This study evaluates the effects of Schopler and Reichler's developmental; treatment for autistic children, which uses parents as co-therapists. Fifteen children were followed during waiting and treatment periods. Direct behavioral observations, a blind rating of family stress based on interviews with mothers and two questionnaires were used to assess outcome. All data were collected during home visits. Significant treatment effects were found for appropriate child behavior and parental involvement. Treatment effects were not shown for inappropriate child behavior and the measure of family stress and adaptation. Data are presented which suggest a positive change with treatment in parent-child interaction patterns. A lack of change in independent play is noted. Questionnaire responses indicated that parents saw the treatment as helpful. The results are discussed in terms of their implications for treatment, prognosis and future outcome research.