The dramatic increase in the number of people identified with ASD has focused attention on the types of interventions that can lead to opportunities for a high quality of life. These teaching strategies can introduce new behaviors or reduce inappropriate actions, often using the principles of behavior reinforcement. Nonmedical interventions frequently address one specific issue at a time – for example, teaching a student to focus on homework – and can yield results in those specific areas as well as more general improvement in functioning.
The Texas Statewide Leadership for Autism Training has compiled the Texas Autism Resource Guide for Effective Teaching (TARGET), which provides information on interventions for people with ASD. Recognizing the diversity of those with ASD, TARGET exercises a pragmatic approach to evidence-based practices:
“The best measure of effectiveness of an intervention is whether it is effective for a particular individual. It is of utmost importance to collect and analyze data when using interventions with a student with autism. If an intervention results in positive change for a particular student and you, as an educational professional, have data to support that, then the intervention is evidence-based for that student.”
A report for military families the Ohio State University Project Team includes a comparison chart (created by Brenda Smith Myles, Ph.D.) outlining and describing the evidence-based practices developed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the National Autism Center and the National Professional Development Center on ASD.
For more information about interventions, try Autism Source, the Autism Society’s national contact center and database. Autism Source can connect you to service providers in your area and supply information to help you in choosing an intervention or therapy.