evidence-based interventions
Evidence Based Interventions

Early intervention and ongoing support help children and adults with autism reach their unique potential. Choosing evidence-based strategies that have been rigorously tested and published in peer-reviewed journals ensures the best results.

The National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders identifies 27 evidence-based practices.

Intervention Approaches to Consider:

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

ABA is a system for learning where skills are considered behaviors from greetings to toothbrushing to learning a job. ABA features errorless learning, including systematic fading of prompts, focusing on small steps that are chained together, generalized across people and settings. Motivation and reinforcement are important components. An effective ABA program involves a thorough assessment, data collection and parent training about the procedures being used and skills being taught. Programs are individualized and can take place in a variety of settings, ranging from structured teaching including one-on-one and small groups, play-based activities, academic and workplace strategies.

Speech-Language Therapy

Speech-Language Therapy may focus on functional communication, receptive language (what the person comprehends), expressive language (what is spoken), verbal and non-verbal communication and articulation.

Social Skills Therapy

Social Skills Therapy teaches how to initiate, maintain and engage in social interactions, usually in a small group setting.

Occupational Therapy (OT)

O.T. can help to develop skills for handwriting, fine motor and daily living. In addition, O.T. can target a child’s sensory processing disorders.

Physical Therapy (PT)

P.T. focuses on functional skills that are important for play and activities such as running, skipping and catching a ball. It can also help to improve muscle tone and build physical endurance.

PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System)

Since many people with autism are not able to verbally communicate, PECS teaches how to communicate using pictures and picture cards

TEACCH (Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication-Handicapped Children)

Used in many schools, TEACCH relies heavily on visual learning, a strength for many children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Children use schedules made up of pictures and/or words to order their day and to help them move smoothly between activities.

Additional Resources

The National Autism Center identified 14 evidence-based interventions for children, adolescents and adults under age 22 in their National Standards Reports (phase 2), released in 2015.

The Ohio’s Parent Guide to Autism from OCALI includes a chapter on evidence-based interventions.

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Overview of Treatments for Autism

What Works Clearinghouse reviews existing research on different programs, products, practices and policies in education.

Originally published on Milestones Autism Resources