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Comparative Effectiveness of Therapies for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders

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Behavioral Interventions Aimed at Core Symptoms (1 of 2)

In this review, behavioral interventions were categorized into early intensive behavioral and developmental interventions, social skills interventions, and play- and interaction-based interventions. Early intensive behavioral and developmental interventions include UCLA/Lovaas-based approaches, the Early Start Denver Model, and those using the principles of applied behavioral analysis to focus on key pivotal behaviors rather than on global improvements (e.g., Pivotal Response Training, Hanen More than Words, social pragmatic intervention, etc.). Social skills interventions address core social impairments and utilize approaches such as direct instruction within individual (e.g., Social Stories) or group (e.g., Skillstreaming, Children’s Friendship Training) formats and structured interactions with peers (e.g., Lego therapy). Play- and interaction-based interventions use interactions between children and adults (either parents or researchers) to improve outcomes such as imitation or joint attention skills or the ability of the child to engage in symbolic play. They include teaching parents how to interact differently with their children within daily routines and interactions, often using standard behavior-management strategies. They also include foci on generic day-to-day interactions outside of the family.