Behavioral treatments in autism spectrum disorder: what do we know?

MIND Institute, University of California, Davis, Sacramento, California 95817, USA.
Annual Review of Clinical Psychology (Impact Factor: 12.92). 03/2010; 6:447-68. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.clinpsy.121208.131151
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Although there are a large and growing number of scientifically questionable treatments available for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), intervention programs applying the scientific teaching principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) have been identified as the treatment of choice. The following article provides a selective review of ABA intervention approaches, some of which are designed as comprehensive programs that aim to address all developmental areas of need, whereas others are skills based or directed toward a more circumscribed, specific set of goals. However, both types of approaches have been shown to be effective in improving communication, social skills, and management of problem behavior for children with ASD. Implications of these findings are discussed in relation to critical areas of research that have yet to be fully explored.

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    ABSTRACT: Our animal and human studies have provided empirical evidence that a patented intranasal herbal medicine alters brain functions and neurophysiology. In particular, it reduces clinical symptoms and immunological anomalies in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The present study explored whether the herbal formula can improve executive functions and the associated neuroelectrophysiological activity in ASD. Thirty children with ASD were evenly assigned to receive a daily intranasal administration of the herbal formula or no treatment. Their executive functions, behavioral problems, and electroencephalographic activity during an executive control task were measured before and after six months of treatment with the herbal formula. After treatment, the experimental group showed significantly improved inhibitory control, mental flexibility, and planning, which coincided with an event-related elevation in the activity of their prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortices (regions that are critical for executive control of behaviors) as well as reduced daily dysexecutive behaviors. In contrast, the control group showed no significant changes in executive functions or neural system activity. These findings support the administration of the intranasal herbal medicine as a possible intervention for improving executive functions in ASD.
    Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders 06/2014; 8(6):681–691. DOI:10.1016/j.rasd.2014.03.007 · 2.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Despite recent advances in understanding the molecular mechanisms of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), the current treatments for these disorders are mostly focused on behavioral and educational approaches. The considerable clinical and molecular heterogeneity of ASD present a significant challenge to the development of an effective treatment targeting underlying molecular defects. Deficiency of SHANK family genes causing ASD represent an exciting opportunity for developing molecular therapies because of strong genetic evidence for SHANKs as causative genes in ASD and the availability of a panel of Shank mutant mouse models. In this article we review the literature suggesting the potential for developing therapies based on molecular characteristics and discuss several exciting themes that are emerging from studying Shank mutant mice at the molecular level and in terms of synaptic function. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol, 2013.
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    ABSTRACT: Intervention studies evaluating pivotal response treatment (PRT) were systematically identified and analyzed. Forty-three studies were summarized in terms of (a) participant characteristics, (b) dependent variables, (c) intervention procedures, (d) intervention outcomes, and (e) certainty of evidence. The majority of the reviewed studies (56.4 %) had serious methodological limitations. However, the reviewed studies that provided conclusive or preponderant evidence (43.6 %) indicated that PRT results in increases in self-initiations and collateral improvements in communication and language, play skills, affect and reductions in maladaptive behavior for a number of children. Furthermore, the reviewed studies suggested that the majority of caregivers and staff members were able to implement PRT techniques, but evidence for collateral improvements in caregivers' and staff members' behaviors remains sparse. Implications for future research are discussed.
    03/2013; 1(1). DOI:10.1007/s40489-013-0008-z


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