On this page, you can explore the following topics (click on the topic of interest):

… in Education

Evidence-based practices refer to “any concept or strategy that is derived from or informed by objective evidence—most commonly, educational research or metrics of school, teacher, and student performance. Among the most common applications are evidence-based decisions, evidence-based school improvement, and evidence-based instruction. ” Read the full article in the Glossary of Education Reform.

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… in Medicine

Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is “the conscientious, explicit, judicious and reasonable use of modern, best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients. EBM integrates clinical experience and patient values with the best available research information.” Read the full article

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… in Psychotherapy

Evidence-Based Practices (EBPs) “are treatments that are based directly on scientific evidence suggesting that strongest contributors and risk factors for psychological symptoms. Most EBPs have been studied in several large-scale clinical trials, involving thousands of patients and careful comparison of the effects of EBPs vs. other types of psychological treatments. Dozens of multi-year studies have shown that EBPs can reduce symptoms significantly for many years following the end of psychological treatment – similar evidence for other types of therapies is not available to date.” Read the full article on the ABCT Website

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Evidence-Based Practices and Autism

The field of autism research and practice is constantly evolving. Because of such ongoing changes, it is important for families, educators, medical professionals, and service providers among others to stay up-to-date on evidence-based practices for interventions and strategies that can help individuals with ASD achieve their independence.

Learn more about evidence-based practices for children, youth, and young adults with ASD.

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Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA, is a research-based philosophy of working with individuals of different abilities, not just individuals with ASD. ABA encompasses a range of strategies and methods based on standard behavioral principles designed to address reduction of behaviors by encouraging positive or desired behaviors and discouraging negative or unwanted behaviors in order to improve a variety of skills. Behaviors are considered to be a form of communication that can be addressed by teaching appropriate skills to support the reduction of undesired behaviors across settings. Examples of ABA methods include, but are not limited to:

Discrete Trial Training: Teaching an individual one particular skill through repeated trials
Incidental Teaching: Creating a learning environment based on an individual’s interests or motivations
Pivotal Response Training: Focusing on positive changes in key behaviors to positively affect other behaviors
Social Stories™: Using words and/or pictures to describe what to do in various situations that may challenge or provoke anxiety within an individual (developed by Carol Gray)

Learn more about ABA on the Applied Behavior Analysis page.

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Structured Teaching (TEACCH; Schopler)

Structured teaching involves setting up an individual’s environment for success by using structure (e.g., physical structure, visual structure, visual schedules, work systems) to lend organization, predictability and understanding of expectations.  The structured teaching method is designed to capitalize on strengths of individuals with ASD, minimize their challenges and support independence. Structured teaching originated at the TEACCH Program at the University of North Carolina.

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Picture Exchange Communication Systems (PECS; Bondy and Frost)

The Picture Exchange Communication System, or PECS, is designed to improve an individual’s ability to expressively communicate through the use of pictures representing language or concepts. The individual is systematically and gradually taught the expectation for exchange of a picture to communicate and interact with others.  As the system is utilized, additional picture cards are added as appropriate and the complexity of the communications can be increased.  This low tech communication system can be utilized to promote functional communication as an alternative to negative behaviors and in combination with and/or to promote verbal or other communications as well.

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Verbal Behavior Analysis (VBA; Skinner)

Verbal Behavior Analysis utilizes DTT methods to specifically focus on and teach verbal skills. Individuals are taught to use appropriate words when motivated to make it clear to the individual that communication has a function and to help individuals learn the right words to use within a given context.

Unestablished treatment options also exist and may be explored in more detail using credible resources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionthe National Autism Center’s National Standards ProjectNational Institute of Health, and medical providers in your area.

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Additional Resources

Slocum, T., Detrich, R., Wilczynski, S., Spencer, T., Lewis, T., & Wolfe, K. (2014). The evidence-based practice of Applied Behavior Analysis. Behavior Analysis, 37(1), 41-56

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