Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has always attracted a multitude of interventions that target learning, language, working with parents, social interaction, sensory issues and behaviour. Evidence based practices(EBP) in ASD are those that have demonstrated a reduction in symptoms in a relatively short period of time to improve a person’s abilities across a number of or a specific area.
Researchers in the field recommend the following when considering an intervention or approach:
- There is a clear rationale behind the strategies
- The research is conducted by clinicians with expertise in the area
- Interventions should match the characteristics of the individual
- Effective treatments are those that generalise to other situations
Researchers in the field identify the following criteria as a controversial practice if it has:
- Cure claim
- Questionable research- does not have a track record
- Practitioner specialisation- only one person can implement the practice
- Intensity- is time consuming
- Legal action has taken place
Researchers identify the importance of a practice being inclusive and highlight the following criteria for an effective practice:
- It can be generalised across many areas of the individual’s life
- It can be adjusted to meet individual needs
- It allows involvement by the individual and is easily put into practice
- It has easily accessible materials to support the practice
- It is easily transferred to other areas of the individual’s life
Once a diagnosis is obtained many interventions may be suggested and this is the time when you need to consider what is best for your child. There are a number of advantages for families to ask for EBPs and for therapists/teachers to use them.
- EBPs have been shown to reduce symptoms and improve functioning. Other treatments do not have that track record.
- Studies have shown that EBPs work in a relatively short time span and many appear to lead to long-standing improvements.
Think about your child’s areas of strengths and deficits, organise assessments to be undertaken to inform your pathway of further investigation as to what you need to do next.
Use the above information to help you formulate your questions when a looking for an intervention or when one is recommended to you. See our page on Organising General Paperwork and ASD Planning Flowchart for more information.