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Intervention in autism: a brief review of the literature

Richard Mills (Director of Research at Research Autism, Bristol, UK)
Stephen Marchant (Student of the Tizard Centre, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK)

Tizard Learning Disability Review

ISSN: 1359-5474

Article publication date: 15 July 2011




There are many treatments and interventions available to families and carers of children with autism, many without any solid evidence base. This paper aims to present and discuss the literature on some of the commonly used and better researched interventions.


Research literature drawing on systematic reviews in particular, where available, was collated and summarised under the subheadings of psycho‐educational, psycho‐pharmacological, and complementary interventions or therapies.


There are very few interventions that have a solid research base. Even those with the strongest evidence base, such as early intensive behavioural intervention, have not necessarily been found to have a universally positive impact. Recent studies have been methodologically stronger, but there are still many weaknesses in the research to date.


This paper attempts to provide a balanced and independent view of the literature on different interventions for autism.



Mills, R. and Marchant, S. (2011), "Intervention in autism: a brief review of the literature", Tizard Learning Disability Review, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 20-35.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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