Evidence-based review of interventions for autism used in or of relevance to occupational therapy

Am J Occup Ther. Jul-Aug 2008;62(4):416-29. doi: 10.5014/ajot.62.4.416.

Abstract

Occupational therapy practitioners are among the professionals who provide services to children and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), embracing both leadership and supportive roles in service delivery. The study's primary aims were as follows: (1) to identify, evaluate, and synthesize the research literature on interventions for ASD of relevance to occupational therapy and (2) to interpret and apply the research literature to occupational therapy. A total of 49 articles met the authors' criteria and were included in the review. Six categories of research topics were identified, the first 3 of which are most closely related to occupational therapy: (1) sensory integration and sensory-based interventions; (2) relationship-based, interactive interventions; (3) developmental skill-based programs; (4) social cognitive skill training; (5) parent-directed or parent-mediated approaches; and (6) intensive behavioral intervention. Under each category, themes supported by research evidence and applicable to occupational therapy were defined. The findings have implications for intervention methods, communication regarding efficacious practices to professionals and consumers, and future occupational therapy research.

MeSH terms

  • Autistic Disorder / therapy*
  • Behavior Therapy / methods
  • Early Intervention, Educational / methods
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Occupational Therapy / methods*