We endorse quality programs that use evidence-based practices for autism treatment. Early intervention has been shown to be most effective, but individuals with autism are lifelong learners and thus can benefit from treatment at any time.
To learn how to fund treatment, first contact your health insurance provider. If you have Medicaid, contact your local LME/MCO as found on this directory, or for children younger than 3, contact the Division of Medical Assistance.
Please note, some practices are promoted as “wonder treatments” without solid evidence. Some treatments may even carry significant health risks; for a list of these, please read this article from the FDA.
What are “evidence-based practices”?
As you consider strategies and treatment methods, it is important to know which approaches have been shown to be effective. “Evidence-based practices” are interventions that researchers have shown to be safe and effective through scientific research. Efficacy, according to the National Professional Development Center on ASD, must be established through peer-reviewed research in scientific journals using accepted high standard methodologies.
Recent research by the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute in conjunction with the National Professional Development Center on ASD identified 27 evidence-based practices. As other promising and emerging practices continue to be evaluated in empirical studies, there is no doubt that some will be identified as evidence-based.
Research has demonstrated that individuals with ASD benefit from early intervention and appropriate interventions throughout their lifespans. Learning does not stop at age five. Individuals with autism benefit from treatments that integrate evidence-based approaches, such as behavior analytic techniques and visual supports, to target the skills that are most relevant to that person’s life.
What is ABA?
A number of the 27 evidence-based practices draw directly from the science of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). ABA, a robust empirical approach to the study of human behavior, has often been misinterpreted. At its heart, the science of behavior analysis is used to enhance an individual’s quality of life. Applied Behavior Analysis is used to help someone learn socially appropriate, naturally integrated behaviors and reduce behaviors that interfere with learning and/or being involved in one’s community. ABA programs that are high quality prioritize the values and goals of the individual and emphasize meaningful skill development, close collaboration with the individual and their family, and the use of a variety of evidence-based approaches.