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Home Get Started All About ASD 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.

What are evidence-based practices? Evidence-based practices are interventions supported by peer-reviewed, scientific research showing they are effective.

Download this handy guide for determining safe, effective interventions.

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.

Backward and Forward Chaining

There are two types of chaining techniques: “forward chaining” and “backward chaining.” The forward chaining technique moves a student from the first part of the task to the end. The backward chaining technique moves a student from the last part of the task to the beginning.

Direct Instruction

Direct instruction is the use of straightforward, explicit teaching techniques, usually to teach a specific skill. It is a teacher-directed method, meaning that the teacher stands in front of a classroom and presents the information.

Discrete Trial Instruction

Discrete Trial Training is a method of teaching in simplified and structured steps. Instead of teaching an entire skill in one go, the skill is broken down and “built-up” using discrete trials that teach each step one at a time.

Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA)

A Functional Behavior Assessment is a process that identifies specific target behavior, the purpose of the behavior, and what factors maintain the behavior that is interfering with the student's educational progress.

Functional Communication Training (FCT)

Functional communication training is a differential reinforcement procedure in which an individual is taught an alternative response that results in the same class of reinforcement identified as maintaining problem behavior. It is a commonly used form of ABA Therapy.

Joint Attention Intervention

Joint attention is an early-developing social-communicative skill in which two people use gestures and gaze to share attention with respect to interesting objects or events

Modeling and Video Modeling

Video Modeling is a visual teaching method that occurs by watching a video of someone modeling a targeted behavior or skill and then imitating the behavior/skill watched.

Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)

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

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.

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