How to evaluate treatment options and therapeutic strategies for children with autism

Many parents with children with autism try to seek out the best treatment options and resources for their child.  Companies and professionals alike offer a multitude of products and services. The keen advertising strategies that are often used make the task of identifying quality products and services that much more daunting.  Further, no child is the same and each individual child will respond differently to treatment. Partington Behavior Analysts provide applied behavior analysis services (ABA) to help sort through some challenging questions.   

How do you choose products and determine whether they might be useful to your child given his or her needs?  There are many factors to consider. Here are some tips to think about as you begin the process of finding the best products and/or Autism-related services for your child:

  • Find resources that are evidence-based. Check to see how much research has been conducted on the service, therapy, or product of interest. The more research on a given type of therapy or product, the better.  For example, the scientific literature contains over 60 years of research that documents applied behavior analysis (ABA) as an effective treatment strategy for individuals with autism.
  • There are two types of research one can look for — direct research and products derived from research related to autism in children.  First, check for any direct research on the product itself. Does the research indicate that the product is effective? Another type is a product derived from research. For example, a book that reviews teaching strategies can be derived from research.
  • How much research is enough?  The answer is subjective, but the more the better!  Would you feel confident with only one or two published articles on a product or several?  
  • Where do I find research on products? If you are attending a conference, ask the company who is advertising the specific product or therapy.  Otherwise, Google Scholar is a great resource for obtaining published research on a product or therapy of interest.
  • Ask professionals or experts in autism treatment at conferences for their thoughts.  Approach them after their talk or in between talks and many professionals are even willing to help point you in the right direction!

Some products are of great quality and can really help you to make a positive impact in your child’s life. In contrast, other products are based on minimal research and are questionable (in terms of their effectiveness) at best.  Do your own research and look closely into products or therapies that you are interested in. In the end, it can save you more time and money. Further, it can help you determine the best course of action for your child with autism. 

If you are interested in learning how to better teach skills to your child, our products are grounded in research from the field of applied behavior analysis. Click on the “Products” tab at the top of this page for more information about AFLS, ABLLS-R, and more.


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