Over the years, extensive research has indicated that individuals, as well as children diagnosed with ASD, benefit from early and appropriate interventions throughout the course of their lives. In this regard, children on the autism spectrum reap significant advantages through treatments that incorporate evidence-based approaches predominantly for targeting developmental skills. As parents and caregivers consider treatment methods for autism spectrum disorder, it is essential to recognize approaches that have proven or demonstrated efficacy.
So, what exactly are evidence-based practices and treatments for autism?
Evidence-based practices (EBPs) are well-researched interventions that are shown to be safe as well as effective via scientific investigation. According to the National Professional Development Center on ASD, efficacy must be established through peer-reviewed research in scientific journals by virtue of accepted high-standard methodologies. Evidence-based practices or treatments for ASD are established on objective scientific evidence, including the demonstration of measurable results and thorough investigative studies. Here, research plays an integral role in terms of determining whether a treatment is actually effective and, in turn, enabling applied behavioral analysts to design and implement suitable strategies for treatment based on scientific research.
In contrast, non-evidence-based therapies or treatments have not been subjected to former scientific research and inquiry, and have no proof or solid foundation for their effectiveness.
For many parents of children on the autism spectrum, evidence-based therapies’ scientific validation can also grant an added sense of assurance and peace of mind regarding the high likelihood of favorable or positive outcomes.
Evidence-Based Practices for Children with Autism
27 evidence-based practices were identified by the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute in association with the National Professional Development Center on ASD.
Given below is an incredibly useful list for those willing to know more about scientifically-researched interventions with the highest rates of effectiveness. And for your reference, we have highlighted some of the most commonly used evidence-based autism therapies in order to help you make the right choice –
Cognitive Behavioral Intervention (CBI)
This evidenced-based practice is grounded on the belief that behavior is facilitated by cognitive processes. These interventions are mainly used with children displaying problematic behavior related to specific emotions or feelings, such as anger or anxiety. CBI helps address social, communication, behavior, and cognitive health outcomes, predominantly for elementary school-age learners (6-11 years) to high school-age learners (15-18 years) with autism.
Technology-Aided Instruction and Intervention
Technology, as the central feature of this intervention approach, is used intentionally to increase/maintain and improve daily living, work, productivity, recreation, and leisure capabilities of children with autism spectrum disorder. According to evidence-based studies, this intervention has been effective for pre-schoolers (3-5 years) to young adults (19-22 years) diagnosed with autism.
Antecedent-Based Interventions (ABI)
Antecedent-based interventions (ABI) entail various modifications made to the environment in an attempt to shape or change a child’s behavior. Some of the most common ABI procedures include enriching the environment in order to offer additional cues or access to more materials and incorporating the child’s choice in educational activities or materials. As per evidence-based studies, this intervention method has been effective for toddlers (0-2 years) to young adults (19-22 years) on the autism spectrum.
Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA)
This evidence-based practice is generally used to identify the causes of interfering behaviors: aggression towards others, self-injury, or destructive behaviors. It is typically followed by the creation as well as the implementation of a behavior package in order to address the interfering conduct described.
Peer-Mediated Instruction and Intervention
Peer-mediated instruction and intervention (PMII) is used to teach typically developing peers methods to interact with as well as help learners on the autism spectrum acquire new behavior and communication skills by increasing social opportunities within natural environments. With PMII, peers are methodically taught ways of engaging children with autism in social interactions in both learner-initiated as well as teacher-directed activities.
Response interruption/redirection includes the introduction of a comment, prompt, or other distractors when an interfering behavior occurs. These prompts are designed to divert the attention of the child away from the intrusive behavior and subsequently, lead to its reduction.
Pivotal Response Training
Pivotal response training (PRT) is a naturalistic intervention based on the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA). Building on learner initiative as well as interests, PRT is particularly effective for the development of communication, play, language, and social behaviors for toddlers (0-2 years) to middle school-age learners (12-14 years) on the autism spectrum.
To summarise, some of the most commonly used evidence-based autism therapies
- Cognitive Behavioral Intervention (CBI)
- Technology-Aided Instruction and Intervention
- Antecedent-Based Interventions (ABI)
- Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA)
- Peer-Mediated Instruction and Intervention
- Response Interruption/Redirection
- Pivotal Response Training
The Integral Role of ABA in Autism Treatment
As other potential and developing practices continue to be analyzed in empirical studies, some of them will undoubtedly be identified as evidence-based. In this regard, several EBPs draw directly from the science of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), which at its core, is used to enhance an individual’s quality of life.
According to Autism Speaks, more than 20 studies have demonstrated that long-term and intensive therapy using ABA principles plays a significant role in improving outcomes for several children with autism. The research finds key improvements in areas such as language development, social and intellectual functioning, as well as other skill sets integral to daily life.
High quality ABA programs, such as those offered by Early Autism Services (EAS), prioritize the values and individual goals of the child. Moreover, it also focuses on meaningful skill development and close collaborations with the little ones as well as their families. At Early Autism Services (EAS), our board-certified behavior analysts are proficient in implementing evidence-based treatments for autism, evaluating treatment strategies, and effectively conducting behavioral assessments. So, if you’re ready to provide your little one with the best autism care in Bengaluru, contact us right away by requesting a free consultation.