Treatment strategies range in terms of the premises behind what will change the behavior at issue. These points back to measurement to help guide how we can design a treatment that is ethical, acceptable and measurable.
This is a guideline to detecting the true effectiveness of any procedure. Does the treatment address the behavior and does the behavior change in the desired direction such that there is strong agreement that the behavior change has improved a socially significant behavior? Does the change make life better for the person receiving the treatment?
Is the treatment something that can be continued in the absence of a professional; that is have we been able to teach parents and other caretakers how to use effective strategies? Treatment needs to result in improvements that will be effective in environments other than the treatment environment. This generality of treatment is one of the requirements of ABA.
A highly recommended report for parents regarding the strength of evidence for various treatments for autism can be found in the National Autism Council’s Summary Report.
For an extensive review of research on treatments see the National Standards project.
This used to be a free service but due to the high demand, a fee has been implemented. The report classifies the strength of evidence into the categories of (1) Established, (2) Emerging, (3) Unestablished and (4) Ineffective/Harmful.
Another great organization is Association of Science in Autism Treatment (ASAT). They provide resources to families, educators and providers. In addition, ASAT provides up to date research on various autism treatments. ASAT can be accessed at: https://asatonline.org