Evidence Based Practices

The National Professional Development Center (NPDC) on Autism Spectrum Disorder has identified 27 evidence-based practices for improving outcomes for students with ASD.

Antecedent-based intervention Pivotal response training
Cognitive behavioral intervention Prompting
Differential reinforcement Reinforcement
Discrete trial teaching Response interruption/ redirection
Exercise Scripting
Extinction Self-management
Functional behavior assessment Social narratives
Functional communication training Social skills training
Modeling Structured play group
Naturalistic intervention Task analysis
Parent-implemented intervention Technology-aided instruction and intervention
Peer-mediated instruction and intervention Time delay
Picture Exchange Communication System Video modeling
  Visual support

Five of these interventions—(1) reinforcement; (2) prompting; (3) time delay; (4) modeling; and (5) task analysis reflect the building blocks of ABA and, therefore, are sometimes referred to as foundational strategies.

Reinforcement – Positive reinforcement involves providing a desired consequence (e.g., a tangible item, access to an activity, or social reward/praise) after a student engages in a desired behavior.

Prompting – Using a prompt to assist a student when he is learning a new skill or behavior to help improve his chances of success.

  • Gesture—Includes pointing at or touching an object
  • Verbal cue—Includes verbal hints and directions
  • Visual cue—Includes illustrations, photos, and objects
  • Modeling—Includes demonstrating or showing a child how to perform a skill
  • Physical—Includes physically directing or touching a child to help him perform a behavior or skill (Note that this is especially useful for teaching motor skills)

Time Delay – A means of systematically providing and then fading prompts. When teaching a new behavior or skill, the teacher prompts the child and then immediately provides the correct response (e.g., “What is this? A dog.”). Then the teacher increases the time between the prompt and the student’s response using a constant time delay or progressive time delay.

Modeling – Demonstrating how to perform a skill or behavior correctly prior to asking the student to perform the behavior.  A visual demonstration can also be used to prompt a student after he or she has been asked to perform a skill or behavior.

Task Analysis – A method of breaking multi-step skills or behaviors into smaller components that can be taught one at a time.