Everyday interventions that parents and caregivers can provide in natural settings--such as during dinner, while playing in the neighborhood park, or in the classroom --show greatest promise for children with autism, indicates a multi-university research team.
The interventions particularly are effective for supporting language, social communication, and play development.
"Naturalistic developmental behavior interventions (NDBIs) have garnered more high-quality evidence supporting their use than some traditional approaches for aiding young children with autism," says principal investigator Micheal Sandbank, assistant professor of special education at the University of Texas, Austin.
The analysis was published in the journal Psychological Bulletin and marks the first meta-analysis of 130 reviewed studies of nonpharmacological interventions designed for kids with autism.
NDBIs are early intervention techniques that are implemented in natural settings by clinicians, educators, and other caregivers, as opposed to more highly structured and formalized interventions. They use a number of behavioral strategies to teach developmentally appropriate skills to young children with autism.
For example, an NDBI strategy for teaching a child to say the word "ball" might include playing naturally with a ball in the park and modeling the word many times. These strategies were created to be integrated easily into routine activities throughout the day to have maximum impact for the children.
Although NBDIs are not new, categorizing them as a specific type of intervention is. In 2015, the developers of these interventions...