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Treatments are interventions or approaches designed to address core deficits associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and improve the quality of life and functional independence. While there are no conclusive studies showing that one approach is better than another, some approaches have been researched more than others and many approaches incorporate similar strategies. Parents and professionals are encouraged to look at all approaches and choose treatment strategies that best fit the needs of the child and family.

Research has demonstrated significant progress in response to intervention with a substantial proportion of children with ASD using a range of techniques, from behavioral to developmental. However, outcomes of children are variable, with some making substantial progress and others showing slow gains. It is not yet known whether particular treatment approaches are more effective than others and which children respond best to which treatments. Research does indicate the need for sufficient intervention with planned teaching opportunities to provide the intensity necessary to promote active engagement, learning, and generalization, all essential for children with ASD. It is important that parents and professionals collaborate to make decisions about which treatment approaches and strategies are effective for a particular child at a particular point in time.

We encourage you to visit the ASD Video Glossary to view some of the more commonly used interventions for children on the autism spectrum: behavioral interventions, developmental interventions, structured teaching and supports, clinical therapies, and toddler treatment models. We have chosen to focus on treatments that can be represented and understood in video format. There are many other treatments available and families are encouraged to speak with their professional team members to choose the treatments that best address the individual needs of their child.


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Last update: 03/13/14
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