Applied behavior analysis treatment of autism: the state of the art

Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am. 2008 Oct;17(4):821-34, ix. doi: 10.1016/j.chc.2008.06.007.


The treatment of individuals with autism is associated with fad, controversial, unsupported, disproven, and unvalidated treatments. Eclecticism is not the best approach for treating and educating children and adolescents who have autism. Applied behavior analysis (ABA) uses methods derived from scientifically established principles of behavior and incorporates all of the factors identified by the US National Research Council as characteristic of effective interventions in educational and treatment programs for children who have autism. ABA is a primary method of treating aberrant behavior in individuals who have autism. The only interventions that have been shown to produce comprehensive, lasting results in autism have been based on the principles of ABA.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Autistic Disorder / therapy*
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / therapy
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Social Behavior
  • Treatment Outcome