Behavioral treatments in autism spectrum disorder: what do we know? Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 6, 447-468

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.

    • "For example, imagine a child who learns a social script to respond to ''hi,'' but then fails to apply this script when someone says, ''hey.'' Generalizing a skill learned in treatment to everyday use is one of the most significant barriers to treatment success (for reviews, see Karkhaneh et al. 2010; Vismara and Rogers 2010; Wass and Porayska-Pomsta 2013). In an early study of this phenomenon, nearly half of children with ASD who learned new behaviors in a treatment room failed to transfer these skills to a new setting (Rincover and Koegel 1975). "
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    ABSTRACT: Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have difficulty generalizing-i.e., relating new stimuli to past experiences. Few experimental studies have addressed this weakness, despite its impact on intervention effects. In a reanalysis of data (de Marchena et al. Cognition 119(1):96-113, 2011), we tested a novel form of generalization-the ability to transfer a strategy used in one context to a similar context-in verbally fluent youth with ASD and matched typically developing controls. Participants with ASD were subtly less likely to learn from experience; their generalizations were less consistent. Generalization in ASD correlated with receptive vocabulary but not age, suggesting a link to language development. A richer understanding of how to promote generalization in ASD will advance both theory and practice.
    Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 06/2015; DOI:10.1007/s10803-015-2478-6 · 3.06 Impact Factor
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    • "The present findings suggest the possibility of applying the herbal nasal drops as a complementary treatment for patients with functional abnormalities in the PFC and ACC. The potential benefits of the herbal nasal drops are consistent with the treatment effects of some conventional behavioral interventions and with oxytocin treatment for enhancing executive functions and related behavioral and emotional problems in ASD (Andari et al., 2010; Guastella et al., 2010; Ospina et al., 2008; Vismara & Rogers, 2010 "
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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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    • "The current therapeutic options are mostly restricted to programs of behavioral modification such as applied behavioral analysis (ABA), early start denver model (ESDM), and treatment and education of autistic and related communication handicapped children (TEACCH) (Myers and Johnson, 2007; Dawson et al., 2010; Kasari and Lawton, 2010; McPheeters et al., 2011; Warren et al., 2011; Taylor et al., 2012). These interventions are primarily based on behavioral and educational approaches linked to autistic behaviors but do not target the underlying biological causes (Vismara and Rogers, 2010). The outcome of these behavioral therapies is quite variable and a vigorous validation for their efficacy is still warranted (Hayward et al., 2009; Grindle et al., 2012; Taylor et al., 2012; Dawson, 2012). "
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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.
    Developmental Neurobiology 02/2014; 74(2). DOI:10.1002/dneu.22084 · 4.19 Impact Factor
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