Evidence-based Practices with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Established Treatments Based on the National Standards Report

Antecedent Package - These interventions involve the modification of situational events that typically precede the occurrence of a target behavior. These alterations are made to increase the likelihood of success or reduce the likelihood of problems occurring. Treatments falling into this category reflect research representing the fields of applied behavior analysis (ABA), behavioral psychology, and positive behavior supports. This category includes a broad array of strategies such as prompting, behavioral momentum, environmental modification of tasks, etc.

Behavioral Package - These interventions are designed to reduce problem behavior and teach functional alternative behaviors or skills through the application of basic principles of behavior change. Treatments falling into this category reflect research representing the fields of applied behavior analysis, behavioral psychology, and positive behavior supports. This category includes a broad array of antecedent and/or consequent strategies such as delayed contingencies, differential reinforcement strategies, discrete trial teaching, and functional communication training. These treatments may involve a complex combination of behavioral procedures.

Comprehensive Behavioral Treatment for Young Children - This treatment reflects research from comprehensive treatment programs that involve a combination of applied behavior analytic procedures (e.g., discrete trial, incidental teaching, etc.) that are delivered to young children (generally under the age of 8). These treatments may be delivered in a variety of settings and involve a low student-to-teacher ratio. These treatment programs may also be referred to as ABA programs or behavioral inclusive programs and early intensive behavioral intervention.

Joint Attention Intervention - These interventions involve building foundational skills involved in regulating the behaviors of others. Joint attention often involves teaching a child to respond to the nonverbal social bids of others or to initiate joint attention interactions. Examples include pointing to objects, showing items/activities to another person, and following eye gaze.

Modeling - These interventions rely on an adult or peer providing a demonstration of the target behavior that should result in an imitation of the target behavior by the individual with an ASD. Modeling can include simple and complex behaviors. This intervention is often combined with other strategies such as prompting and reinforcement. Examples include live modeling and video modeling.

Naturalistic Teaching Strategies - These interventions involve using primarily child-directed interactions to teach functional skills in the natural environment. These interventions often involve providing a stimulating environment, modeling how to play, encouraging conversation, providing choices and direct/natural reinforcers, and rewarding reasonable attempts. Examples of this type of approach include but are not limited to focused stimulation, incidental teaching, milieu teaching, embedded teaching, and responsive education and prelinguistic milieu teaching.

Peer Training Package - These interventions involve teaching children without disabilities strategies for facilitating play and social interactions with children on the autism spectrum. Peers may often include classmates or siblings. Common names for intervention strategies include peer networks, circle of friends, buddy skills package, integrated play groups, peer initiation training, and peer-mediated social interactions.

Pivotal Response Treatment - This treatment is also referred to as PRT, pivotal response teaching, and pivotal response training. PRT focuses on targeting “pivotal” behavioral areas—such as motivation to engage in social communication, selfinitiation, self management, and responsiveness to multiple cues—with the development of these areas having the goal of very widespread and fluently integrated collateral improvements. Key aspects of PRT intervention delivery also focus on parent involvement in the intervention delivery and on intervention in the natural environment such as homes and schools with the goal of producing naturalized behavioral improvements. This treatment is an expansion of natural language paradigm which is also included in this category.

Schedules - These interventions involve the presentation of a task list that communicates a series of activities or steps required to complete a specific activity. Schedules are often supplemented by other interventions such as reinforcement.

Self-management - These interventions involve promoting independence by teaching individuals with ASD to regulate their behavior by recording the occurrence/nonoccurrence of the target behavior and securing reinforcement for doing so. Initial skills development may involve other strategies and may include the task of setting one’s own goals. In addition, reinforcement is a component of this intervention with the individual with ASD independently seeking and/or delivering reinforcers. Examples include the use of checklists (using checks, smiley/frowning faces), wrist counters, visual prompts, and tokens.

Story-Based Intervention Package - These interventions include treatments that involve a written description of the situations under which specific behaviors are expected to occur. Stories may be supplemented with additional components (e.g., prompting, reinforcement, discussion, etc.). Social stories are the most well known story-based interventions and they seek to answer the “who, what, when, where, and why” questions in order to improve perspective-taking.

Full article: http://www.nasponline.org/publications/cq/mocq385autism.aspx


Complete National Standards report with detailed descriptions of established treatments see pg 43-56:  http://www.nationalautismcenter.org/pdf/NAC%20NSP%20Report_FIN.pdf


Websites & Articles (My favorite "go to" ones)

Asperger's & College (mother's account) - http://www.aspennj.org/pdf/information/articles/lessons-learned-from-first-year-of-college.pdf

Asperger's and Medication - http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/aspergers-syndrome/DS00551/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs


Asperger's & Programming Suggestions - http://www.aspennj.org/pdf/information/articles/understanding-the-student-with-aspergers-syndrome.pdf

Asperger Syndrome: A Guide for Secondary School Principals by Gena P. Barnhill - http://www.naspcenter.org/principals/nassp_asperger.html

Asperger Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Educators by Gena P. Barnhill - http://www.nasponline.org/resources/principals/nasp_asperger.pdf

Asperger's vs. High Functioning Autism - http://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/tool-kits/asperger-syndrome-and-high-functioning-autism-tool-kit/how-are-and-hfa-dif

CDC Fact Sheet - http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/pdf/parents_pdfs/Asperger_Syndrome.pdf

Curriculum supports - videos - http://www.watchknowlearn.org/default.aspx

Curriculum supports - Power Point - http://www.autism4teachers.com/autism4teachers_060.htm


Autism (basic information, developmental milestones) - http://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/learn-signs/developmental-milestones-age

Autism Program at Yale (general information page on autism spectrum disorders) - http://childstudycenter.yale.edu/autism/information/index.aspx

Autism Program at Yale (lengthy list of resources):  http://childstudycenter.yale.edu/autism/sites/sites.aspx

Autism Program at Yale (Klin and Volkmar writings) - http://childstudycenter.yale.edu/autism/information/aspergers.aspx

Autism Spectrum Disorders: Intervention Options for Parents and Educators - http://www.nasponline.org/publications/cq/pdf/V38N5_AutismSpectrumDisorders.pdf

Educating Students with Autism in an Inclusive Classroom - http://www.gov.pe.ca/photos/original/ed_autisminc.pdf

    page 51 has a book list; pages 59+ are coloring pages

Materials designed by a multiple disabilities educator - http://www.redandgreenchoices.com

Social thinking curriculums and other resources - http://www.socialthinking.com/books-products

The University of South Dakota Autism Spectrum Disorders Clinic - http://www.usd.edu/medical-school/center-for-disabilities/asd-resources.cfm




A Parent's Guide to Asperger Syndrome & High-Functioning Autism:  How to Meet the Challenges & Help Your Child Thrive, Oznoff, Duncan, McPortland.

The Effects of Autism on the Family, Schopler and Mesibov

Living with Autism: The Parents' Stories, Dillion

Parent Survival Manual, Schopler

Autism: Facts and Strategies for Parents, Janice E. Janzen

Pretending to be Normal, Liane Holiday-Wiley


Juvenile Literature:

My Best Friend Will, Jamie Lowell

Captain Tommy, Abby Ward Messner

Al Capone Does my Shirts, Gennifer Choldenko

My Social Stories Books, Carol Gray

Buster and the Amazing Daisy, Nancy Ogaz

All about My Brother, Sarah Peralta

Taking Autism to School, Andreanna Edwards

Trevor, Trevor, Diane Twachtman-Cullen

Andy and His Yellow Frisbee, Marry Tompson

Joey and Sam, Illana Katz

My Friend with Autism, Bev Bishop

Blue Bottle Mystery,

Lucy and the Lacemaker,

Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night,