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Update on behavioral interventions for autism and developmental disabilities

Kasari, Connie

doi: 10.1097/WCO.0000000000000185
DEVELOPMENTAL DISORDERS: Edited by Daniel H. Geschwind and Shafali S. Jeste

Purpose of review Given the explosion in published behavioral interventions over the past several years, this review highlights the latest trends over the past year (2014) for children with complex learning and developmental needs.

Recent findings There were virtually no rigorous intervention studies published on developmental disorders in which the cause of the disorder is well known. Nearly all studies focus on autism spectrum disorder. Trends over the past year emphasize modular interventions with design improvements including comparisons of two active treatments and larger and more diverse samples. Far more community-implemented treatments on understudied populations were conducted, including minimally verbal children, girls, very young infants, and low-resourced families. Finally, new pilot data on prevention and neural mechanisms were published.

Summary An uptick in the number of rigorous tests of different interventions conducted in real-world settings with outcomes focused on core deficits bodes well for wide dissemination and implementation by nonspecialists in the community. Pilot and uncontrolled data on prevention and mechanism await further rigorous testing before conclusions can be drawn.

Semel Institute, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, California, USA

Correspondence to Connie Kasari, PhD, 68-268 Semel Institute, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90024, USA. Tel: +1 310 825 8342; e-mail:

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights resereved.