Topic: Developmental and Autism Spectrum Disorder Interventions (Child & Adolescent)

Scientific Ratings in this topic:

1 - Well-Supported by Research Evidence

2 - Supported by Research Evidence

3 - Promising Research Evidence

4 - Evidence Fails to Demonstrate Effect

5 - Concerning Practice

NR - Not able to be Rated

Learn more about the scale

Definition for Developmental and Autism Spectrum Disorder Interventions (Child & Adolescent):

Developmental and Autism Spectrum Disorder Interventions (Child & Adolescent) are defined by the CEBC as interventions to meet the needs of youth who have been diagnosed with a developmental disorder, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD), due to an impairment in learning, language, communication, or behavior areas. Interventions may include behavior-based approaches that are focused on teaching children new behaviors and skills by using specialized, structured techniques; developmental approaches that to help children form positive, meaningful relationships with other people; or a combination of both behavioral and developmental methods. Developmental and Autism Spectrum Disorder Interventions (Child & Adolescent) may differ in terms of timing and may target different age groups. Interventions can occur in a variety of settings, including schools, homes, other community settings, and health care settings, and may be delivered in family, group, or individual formats. Programs included in this topic area may also be child welfare focused and include changes in the methods used to assess youth with developmental disorders for child welfare service planning and changes in the implementation of services to intervene with them. In addition, programs may include systems-based practices that are meant to increase the effectiveness of working with these youth, the availability of needed supports for those who work with this population, and the reduction of barriers between the multiple service systems to which these youth and families may be connected.

  • Target population: Children and adolescents who have been diagnosed with a developmental disorder which can include Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Services/types that fit: Home, community- or school-based interventions, healthcare and outpatient services (either individual or group) that may include their parents and other family members, teachers, and other members of a youth’s ecosystem
  • Delivered by: Child and family serving professionals, including educators, mental health providers, physicians, community-based organizations, and advocacy organizations
  • In order to be included: Program must specifically target developmental and/or autism spectrum disorders.
  • In order to be rated: There must be research evidence (as specified by the Scientific Rating Scale) that examines outcomes related to developmental and/or autism spectrum disorders, such as youth symptom levels, behaviors, and/or functioning or child welfare outcomes for families involving a child or adolescent in this population (e.g., placement stability).

Programs in this Topic Area

The programs listed below have been reviewed by the CEBC and, if appropriate, been rated using the Scientific Rating Scale.

Seven Programs with a Scientific Rating of 3 - Promising Research Evidence:

Four Programs with a Scientific Rating of NR - Not able to be Rated:

  • Circles® Curriculum – non-responder
    Special needs students
  • Relationship Development Intervention (RDI®) – non-responder
    Children and families that face autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and other developmental difficulties
  • Road to Recovery Toolkit, The
    Providers working with children and adolescents of all ages (0–21) with intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families
  • We Thinkers! Curriculum Series
    Children ages 4-7+ with social learning differences who are considered neurodivergent, including autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), behavioral diagnoses, and/...

Topic Expert

Jessica Suhrheinrich, PhD
Department of Special Education
San Diego State University