— 2000 – 2003
Carried out the first pilot studies to see whether therapy resulted in improvement of measures of autism. There were improvements.
— 2003 – 2005
Realizing that early childhood special education (ECSE) programs were tasked with evaluating children for sensory difficulties and providing research based therapies, Dr. Silva modified the original methodology to include what had been learned in the first two studies, and formalized training programs for ECSE staff and parents. Carried out a study evaluating the efficacy of the training program and reported that ECSE staff trained with this program could have the same outcomes with families and children as a Chinese medicine trained physician.
— 2005 – 2007
Developed a model for autism proposing that the symptoms of autism were caused, at least in part by a problem with the sense of touch, and that this leads to difficulties with early self-regulation as well as the other sensory difficulties. At the time, there were no evaluation tools that could measure therapy outcomes on these three things (touch, other sensory, self-regulation). Developed and validated two questionnaires that could measure therapy outcomes. These are: the Autism Sense and Self-Regulation Checklist, and the Autism Parenting Stress Index.
— 2007 – 2011
Carried out larger randomized controlled trials using the QST Dual massage intervention for autism. Evaluated the outcomes of dual therapist and parent delivery, as well as parent delivery only. Therapy showed significant improvement of core symptoms of autism across the spectrum of autism severity.
— 2012- 2016
Large federally funded study with 103 children in the under six age-group replicated results and demonstrated that the therapy was effective on sensory, behavioral, social and language aspects of autism. One- and two-year follow up showed that continued therapy resulted in continued improvement with an overall decrease in severity of autism of 44%. Pilot study of children in the 6-11 age-group demonstrated that therapy was similarly effective in the older group. 2016 Carried out first skin biopsy study involving 4 children with ASD aged 8-11 and demonstrated 50% loss of C-tactile fibers.