There is currently no one standard intervention for the management of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, there are many possible ways to address the symptoms the may negatively impact one’s life while maximizing adaptive abilities.

However, the needs of a person with ASD are often very individualized and complex, as no two people diagnosed with ASD are the same. Whether you are an individual with autism, caregiver, or clinician, it is important to evaluate interventions by their empirical support. Below is a non-comprehensive list of common interventions for the management of ASD, organized by the current literature support associated with each.

Well supported:

  • Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)1,2,3
  • Psychotropic Medication Management4
  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)5
  • Naturalistic/Developmental & behavioral therapies6

Emerging support:

  • Cognitive Enhancement Therapy 7
  • Music Therapy8
  • Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS®)9

Limited/no support:

  • Relationship Development Intervention10
  • Social Stories11
  • Son-Rise Program®12

Shown to be harmful/ineffective:

  • Rapid Prompting Method (RPM) or Facilitated Communication (FC)13,14
  • Chelation Therapy16
  • Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy16
  • Clay baths16


1 Hume, K., Steinbrenner, J. R., Odom, S. L., Morin, K. L., Nowell, S. W., Tomaszewski, B., Szendrey, S., McIntyre, N. S., Yücesoy-Özkan, S., & Savage, M. N. (2021). Evidence-Based Practices for Children, Youth, and Young Adults with Autism: Third Generation Review. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 51(11), 4013–4032.

2 Hyman, S.L., Levy, S.E., Myers, S.M., & AAP Council on Children with Disabilities, Section on developmental and behavioral pediatrics. (2020). Identification, evaluation, and  management of children with autism spectrum disorder. Pediatrics, 145(1), e20193447.

3 Slocum, T. A., Detrich, R., Wilczynski, S. M., Spencer, T. D., Lewis, T., & Wolfe, K. (2014). The Evidence-Based Practice of Applied Behavior Analysis. The Behavior analyst, 37(1), 41–56.

4 Williamson E, Sathe NA, Andrews JC, et al. Medical Therapies for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder—An Update [Internet]. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); 2017 May. (Comparative Effectiveness Reviews, No. 189.) Available from:

5 Danial, J. T., & Wood, J. J. (2013). Cognitive behavioral therapy for children with autism: review and considerations for future research. Journal of developmental and behavioral pediatrics : JDBP, 34(9), 702–715.

6 National Research Council. 2001. Educating Children with Autism. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

7 Eack, S. M., Hogarty, S. S., Greenwald, D. P., Litschge, M. Y., Porton, S. A., Mazefsky, C. A., & Minshew, N. J. (2018). Cognitive enhancement therapy for adult autism spectrum disorder: Results of an 18-month randomized clinical trial. Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research, 11(3), 519–530.

8 Geretsegger, M., Elefant, C., Mössler, K. A., & Gold, C. (2014). Music therapy for people with autism spectrum disorder. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, 2014(6), CD004381.

9 McVey, A. J., Dolan, B. K., Willar, K. S., Pleiss, S., Karst, J. S., Casnar, C. L., Caiozzo, C., Vogt, E. M., Gordon, N. S., & Van Hecke, A. V. (2016). A Replication and Extension of the PEERS® for Young Adults Social Skills Intervention: Examining Effects on Social Skills and Social Anxiety in Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 46(12), 3739–3754.

10 Zane, T. (2010). Is there science behind that?: Relationship development intervention: A review of its effectiveness. Science in Autism Treatment, 7(3), 1-2.

11McConnell, S. (2002). Interventions to facilitate social interaction for young children with autism: Review of available research and recommendations for educational intervention and future research. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 32, 351-372

12Moran, K. (2014). Review of: Promoting Child-Initiated Social Communication in Children with Autism: Son-Rise® Program Intervention Effect. Science in Autism Treatment, 11(1), 23-24.

13Amy Tostanoski, Russell Lang, Tracy Raulston, Amarie Carnett & Tonya Davis (2014) Voices from the past: Comparing the rapid prompting method and facilitated communication, Developmental Neurorehabilitation, 17:4, 219-223, DOI: 10.3109/17518423.2012.749952

14Schlosser, R. W., Hemsley, B., Howard, S., Todd, J., Lang, R., Lilienfeld, S. O., Trembath, D., Mostert, M., Fong, S., & Odom, S. (2019). Rapid Prompting Method and autism spectrum disorder: Systematic review exposes lack of evidence. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 6(4), 403-412.

15 Pediatrics (2020) 145 (1): e20193447.


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