Thursday, October 1, 2015

Features of successful intervention strategies for children with autism

An intervention programme developed in Manchester which focuses on teaching social communication skills to autistic children at an early age, has actually been shown to reduce the autistic symptoms of the children. 
Effective interventions for young children with autism are based upon the presence of certain fundamental features.
  Patricia Howlin gives the following Guidelines
  • A combination of behaviourally oriented strategies with developmental and educational approaches relevant to the individual child's profile of skills and deficits
  • Recognition of the need for structured teaching programmes, with a particular emphasis on visually based cues; these provide the child with a predictable and readily understandable environment, which helps to limit confusion and distress

  • A focus on the development of social-communication and play activities, especially with peers, and if possible the implementation of specialist training programmes

  • Acknowledgement that many so called undesirable behaviours are a reflection of the child's limited behavioural repertoire or poor communication skills; a focus on skill enhancement is therefore often the most effective means of reducing difficult and disruptive behaviours

  • Understanding of the importance of obsessions and rituals, not just as an underlying cause of many behaviour problems, but also as having a vital role in reducing anxiety and as powerful sources of motivation and reinforcement

  • Treatment approaches that are family centred rather than exclusively child oriented

  • Management strategies that can be implemented consistently without excessive sacrifice of time, money and other aspects of family life.


Howlin, P. (2000). Autism and intellectual disability: diagnostic and treatment issues. Journal of The Royal Society of Medicine, 93, 351-355. 


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