Navigation Links
More evidence needed to support use of autism interventions

Interventions designed to improve core deficits in children with autism spectrum disorders are supported by varying levels of evidence, highlighting the need for well-designed studies to better evaluate the interventions, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

Researchers found that when they evaluated the past research on a wide variety of interventions aimed at improving core deficits in social/communication, language, behavior and adaptive skills, the evidence of efficacy ranged from moderate to insufficient. The findings are published in the November edition of the journal Pediatrics.

"We reviewed the evidence that exists for widely used interventions for autism and found there was no more than moderate evidence demonstrating the benefits of any of the approaches," said Margaret Maglione, the study's lead author and a policy analyst at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. "What's needed are new, well-designed studies that are large enough to tease out the effects of different components and which types of children are best suited for the interventions."

The study concludes that head-to-head trials of competing autism treatments are needed to identify which programs are superior and additional work should follow study participants long-term to further examine the effectiveness of treatments.

Researchers conducted the project by closely examining information from more than 100 studies that contained at least 10 children or adolescents. The information was reviewed by an expert panel of practitioners, researchers and parents assembled to systematically evaluate the level of evidence for a wide array of behavioral autism treatments and develop priorities for future research.

The expert panel agreed there was enough evidence to endorse the use of applied behavioral analysis, integrated behavioral/developmental programs, the Picture Exchange Communication System and various social skills interventions for Asperger's syndrome and high-functioning autism. In addition, they agreed that children with autism spectrum disorders should have access to at least 25 hours per week of comprehensive interventions (often called "intensive early intervention") to address social communication, language, play skills and maladaptive behavior.

No treatment was supported by evidence considered stronger than "moderate." Treatments in this category are supported by reasonable evidence, but include the caveat that further research may change the confidence about the results. In contrast, a treatment supported by a high level of evidence is unlikely to be changed by further research.

Based on the gaps in the evidence, the panel recommends that future research focus on assessment and monitoring of treatment outcomes, address the needs of preverbal and nonverbal children, and identify the most effective strategies, doses and duration of therapy needed to improve core deficits. Importantly, little research on adolescents and young adults was identified, other than for social skills programs for Asperger's or high-functioning autism. Thus, the panel recommends that adolescents and young adults be a priority population.

Autism spectrum disorders are a group of developmental disabilities characterized by deficits in social interactions and communications that influences development into adulthood. The disorders have emerged as a major public health issue in recent years, with the number of children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder in the United States is estimated to be 500,000 to 673,000.

The expert panel assembled by RAND researchers concluded there was moderate evidence that comprehensive intervention programs are effective at improving cognitive abilities among children with an autism disorder. While there have been promising results in the areas of language, adaptive skills and IQ, evidence remains insufficient to suggest that one behavioral curriculum is better than another, said Maglione, associate director of the Southern California Evidence-based Practice Center.

The study also found there was moderate evidence that auditory integration training is not effective, and there was insufficient evidence about the efficacy of augmentative and alternative communication devices. The expert panel could not come to consensus about the scientific evidence for sensory integration, deep pressure therapy and exercise.


Contact: Warren Robak
RAND Corporation

Related biology news :

1. Research reveals first evidence of hunting by prehistoric Ohioans
2. Strong scientific evidence that eating berries benefits the brain
3. UNH research adds to mounting evidence against popular pavement sealcoat
4. NIST/UMass study finds evidence nanoparticles may increase plant DNA damage
5. Evidence shows that anti-depressants likely do more harm than good, researchers find
6. Evidence of familial vulnerability for epilepsy and psychosis
7. New evidence that many genes of small effect influence economic decisions and political attitudes
8. DNA evidence shows that marine reserves help to sustain fisheries
9. New evidence in fructose debate: Could it be healthy for us?
10. Study provides first evidence of coevolution between invasive, native species
11. First direct evidence that elemental fluorine occurs in nature
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/15/2016)... York , June 15, 2016 ... new market report titled "Gesture Recognition Market by Application ... Forecast, 2016 - 2024". According to the report, the  ... 11.60 billion in 2015 and is estimated to ... USD 48.56 billion by 2024.  Increasing ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... , June 9, 2016 ... Police deploy Teleste,s video security solution to ensure the safety ... France during the major tournament Teleste, ... communications systems and services, announced today that its video security ... to back up public safety across the country. ...
(Date:6/3/2016)... June 3, 2016 ... Nepal hat ein ... hochsicherer geprägter Kennzeichen, einschließlich Personalisierung, Registrierung und ... der Produktion und Implementierung von Identitätsmanagementlösungen. Zahlreiche ... im Januar teilgenommen, aber Decatur wurde als ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Mosio, a leader in clinical ... Patient Recruitment and Retention Tips.” Partnering with experienced clinical research professionals, Mosio revisits ... tips, tools, and strategies for clinical researchers. , “The landscape of how patients ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- A person commits a crime, and the detective uses ... criminal down. An outbreak of foodborne illness makes ... uses DNA evidence to track down the bacteria that caused ... not. The FDA has increasingly used a complex, cutting-edge technology ... Put as simply as possible, whole genome sequencing is a ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June, 23, 2016  The Biodesign Challenge ... envision new ways to harness living systems and biotechnology, ... Art (MoMA) in New York City ... 130 participating students, showcased projects at MoMA,s Celeste Bartos ... Paola Antonelli , MoMA,s senior curator of architecture and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... In a new case ... Denmark detail how a patient who developed lymphedema after being treated for breast cancer ... could change the paradigm for dealing with this debilitating, frequent side effect of cancer ...
Breaking Biology Technology: