National autism center releases list of 27 evidence-based practices

A much-anticipated report from The National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorder has updated a list of evidence-based interventions for children with autism. The center added 5 new practices to its list, last reviewed in 2008, dropped one practice (structured work systems) and renamed one category “technology-aided instruction.”

Added to its list of evidence-based practices are exercise, modeling, cognitive behavior intervention, structured play groups and scripting.  The list now totals 27 practices.

The review process began with an original search of 29,000 articles on autism interventions published between 1990 and 2011, which was reduced to 1,090 identified as experimental, quasi-experimental or single-case design articles. After completing training, 159 reviewers evaluated the articles based on previously approved criteria .  From the resulting group of 456 articles accepted as providing scientific evidence, the Center produced its list of 27 different practices. The report, Evidence-Based Practices for Children, Youth and Young Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorder,includes a brief description and fact sheet on each of the practices.

“The current review conveys the state of the science in intervention practice for children and youth with ASD as well as the gaps in the science,” the researchers write. Some of the therapies that are not on the list because of insufficient evidence are touch therapy, music therapy, cooperative learning groups, auditory integration training and test-taking strategy instruction.

Evidence-Based Practices for Children, Youth and Young Adults With Autism Spectrum by Connie Wong, Samuel Odom, 2014, The University of North Carolina, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute,, Autism Evidence-Base Practic Review Group.

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