Systematic reviews of psychosocial interventions for autism: An umbrella review

Alberta Research Centre for Health Evidence, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology (Impact Factor: 3.51). 03/2009; 51(2):95-104. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2008.03211.x
Source: PubMed


A wide range of psychosocial interventions for the treatment of individuals with autism-spectrum disorders (ASDs) have been evaluated in systematic reviews. We conducted an umbrella review of systematic reviews of the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions for ASD.
Comprehensive searches were conducted in 25 bibliographic databases, relevant journals and reference lists up to May 2007. Studies included were systematic reviews on any psychosocial intervention for individuals with ASDs. Two reviewers independently assessed study relevance and quality.
Thirty systematic reviews were included. The majority of reviews evaluated interventions based on behavioural theory (n=9) or communication-focused (n=7) therapies. Positive intervention outcomes were reported in the majority of the reviews. Methodological quality of the reviews was generally poor.
The reviews reported positive outcomes for many of the interventions, suggesting that some form of treatment is favourable over no treatment. However, there is little evidence for the relative effectiveness of these treatment options. Many of the systematic reviews had methodological weaknesses that make them vulnerable to bias. There is a need for further systematic reviews that adhere to strict scientific methods and for primary studies that make direct comparisons between different treatment options.

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    • "Störungen, die den Verlauf verkomplizieren und die Prognose verschlechtern (Kanne, Abbacchi & Constantino et al., 2009; Leyfer et al., 2006; Mazzone, Ruta & Reale, 2012; Simonoff et al., 2008). Hinsichtlich der Wirksamkeit von therapeutischen Interventionen zeigt sich eine gute Evidenz von früh beginnenden verhaltenstherapeutischen Interventionen unter enger Einbeziehung der Bezugspersonen (Danial & Wood, 2013; Howlin, 2005; Howlin, Magiati & Charman, 2009; Kamp-Becker, Duketis, Sinzig, Poustka & Becker, 2010; Poustka, Rothermel, Banaschewski & Kamp- Becker, 2012; Seida et al., 2009). Diese Interventionen haben insbesondere eine Reduktion der Kernsymptomatik mittels einer frühen Förderung des Kindes zum Ziel. "
    Kindheit und Entwicklung 01/2015; 24(1):28-36. DOI:10.1026/0942-5403/a000156 · 3.50 Impact Factor
    • "The interpretation of autism, since its clinical recognition and classification, accompanies progress in knowledge and therapeutic interventions. Numerous reviews have detailed scientific understanding (Bailey, Phillips, & Rutter, 1996; Newschaffer et al., 2007; Ratajczak, 2011) and clinical or therapeutic interventions (Gresham, Beebefrankenberger, & MacMillan, 1999; Howlin, 1998; Howlin, Magiati, Charman, & MacLean, 2009; Matson, Benavidez, Stabinsky Compton, Paclawskyj, & Baglio, 1996; Prior, 1979; Seida et al., 2009; Silverman, 2008; Wenar & Ruttenberg, 1969) highlighting changes over time. Social awareness and services have also changed over time, however there is a paucity of reviews of the social context and services for people with autism since its 'discovery' (Silverman, 2011) despite social care services being vital for many individuals with autism and their families (Department of Health (DH), 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: Autism is a lifelong neurodevelopmental disorder requiring various levels of social support across the life course. Early cohorts of children first diagnosed as having autism are now middle-aged or older. Needs for support and services, meaningful and accurate information, and acceptance are substantial among both families supporting a person with autism and people with autism themselves. Social awareness and services for people with autism have changed over time; however, there is a paucity of reviews of the social context and services available since autism's ‘discovery’. This narrative overview explores historically the social care services available to adults with autism and their families, in the context of changes in societal understanding and awareness of autism over time in England. Such an approach may contribute to understandings of older people with autism who have had a label of autism for many decades or who may have acquired this in later life. Retracing the historical social context and care services for autism contextualises the life course experiences and interactions with social workers of today's adults with autism and their families. This review may assist social workers supporting adults with autism and their families to have a better understanding of service trajectories and why contact with professionals may be or has been varied and inconsistent. The key themes from this narrative review suggest the interconnections between scientific development, social awareness and service provision for individuals with autism and their families and changes in social care over time.
    British Journal of Social Work 12/2014; DOI:10.1093/bjsw/bcu131 · 1.19 Impact Factor
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    • "Many interventions have focused on social skill development in individuals with ASD [7], with various interventions specifically focusing on ToM [8-12]. However, the empirical evidence for the effectiveness of these interventions is limited and inconclusive [13], and many studies were hampered by small samples, absence of randomized controlled trials (RCTs), and outcome measurements lacking sensitivity [14]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Having a ‘theory of mind’, or having the ability to attribute mental states to oneself or others, is considered one of the most central domains of impairment among children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Many interventions focus on improving theory of mind skills in children with ASD. Nonetheless, the empirical evidence for the effect of these interventions is limited. The main goal of this study is to examine the effectiveness of a short theory of mind intervention for children with ASD. A second objective is to determine which subgroups within the autism spectrum profit most from the intervention. Methods This study is a randomized controlled trial. One hundred children with ASD, aged 7 to 12 years will be randomly assigned to an intervention or a waiting list control group. Outcome measures include the completion of theory of mind and emotion understanding tasks, and parent and teacher questionnaires on children’s social skills. Follow-up data for the intervention group will be collected 6 months after the interventions. Discussion This study evaluates the efficacy of a theory of mind intervention for children with ASD. Hypotheses, strengths, and limitations of the study are discussed. Trial registration Netherlands Trial Register NTR2327
    Trials 11/2012; 13(1):206. DOI:10.1186/1745-6215-13-206 · 1.73 Impact Factor
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