Evidence-Based Practices

What are Evidence-Based Practices?

Many interventions exist for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Yet, scientific research has found only some of these interventions to be effective. The interventions that researchers have shown to be effective are called evidence-based practices (EBPs). One reason for using EBPs is because, by law, teaching practices must be based on evidence of effectiveness.

What EBPs have been identified?

The NPDC used a rigorous criteria to classify 27 focused interventions as EBPs in 2014. The 27 identified EBPs have been shown through scientific research to be effective when implemented correctly with students with ASD. The NPDC is currently developing online modules, called AFIRM, for each of the 27 identified practices.

Autism Internet Modules imageYou can currently access online modules for the original 24 evidence-based practices on the Autism Internet Modules (AIM) website from the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI).

Select an EBP below to access a brief about the practice. Each brief provides an overview and general description, step-by-step instructions of implementation, an implementation checklist, and the evidence-base which includes the list of references that demonstrate the practice meets the NPDC's criteria.

To print out a specific section of a brief, download the EBP and open using Adobe Reader. You can navigate to different sections of the brief using the menu the left while viewing in Adobe Reader.

Evidence-based Practices

*Indicates practices with newly developed content (2015-2016). Select the practice to access these modules and downloadable resources. 

Antecedent-based Intervention (ABI)*
Cognitive Behavioral Intervention (CBI)**
Differential Reinforcement of Alternative, Incompatible, or Other Behavior (DRA/I/O)
Discrete Trial Teaching (DTT)*
Exercise (ECE)*
Extinction (EXT)
Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA)*
Functional Communication Training (FCT)
Modeling (MD)**

Self-management (SM)*
Social Narratives (SN)*
Social Skills Training (SST)* Previously Social Skills Groups
Structured Play Group (SPG)**
Task Analysis (TA)*
Technology-aided Instruction and Intervention (TAII)** Previously Computer Aided Instruction and Speech Generating Devices
Time Delay (TD)*
Video Modeling (VM)
Visual Support (VS)*

** Indicates new EBP identified in 2014 review. Practice briefs are not available for these practices, but are currently being developed as part of AFIRM.

See the working definitions of each EBP in this excerpt from the 2014 Evidence-Based Practices for Children, Youth, and Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder report. The full report is available here.

Comparison of NPDC and NSP EBPs

In a subsequent analysis, researchers compared the practices identified by NPDC and the National Standards Project (NSP; 2015), finding substantial agreement between the two reviews.  Twenty-one of the practices identified by NPDC as evidence-based were considered established practices by NSP. Four NPDC EBPs were considered emerging practices by NSP (i.e., exercise, functional communication training, picture exchange programs, and technology intervention and instruction).  Two NPDC EBPs were not identified by NSP (i.e., functional assessment, and structured play groups).

To print out the NPDC NSP Comparison table, download the table here and open using Adobe Reader.