Evidence-based practice (EBP) within the context of autism treatment is a complex and critically important scientific concept and term. EBP may be easily misunderstood or confused by consumers of autism services. A broad term, EBP generally refers to “clinical practice informed by evidence about interventions, clinical expertise, and patient needs, values, and preferences and their integration in decision making about individual care” (Kazdin, 2008, p.147). Evidence-Based Treatment (EBT) on the other hand refers to “the interventions or techniques that have produced therapeutic change in controlled trials” (Kazdin, 2008, p.147). An accurate and complete understanding of EBP, EBT, and most importantly, what to look for in an evidence-based practitioner, will set the stage for any caregiver seeking effective, scientifically validated autism treatment. In addition, education in this area will support those consumers who wish to avoid service providers that may misuse this ‘buzz word’ to market an unestablished and often expensive autism treatment service.
The National Autism Center (NAC) offers an excellent set of scholarly resources in a parent friendly format that you can count on as a trustworthy source of information. If you are interested in learning more about the National Autism Center and their National Standards Project take a look at their website and be sure to check out ‘A Parent’s Guide to Evidence-Based Practice and Autism’ found on the resources page.
OntABA also recently published a thorough and in-depth report on EBP for individuals with autism spectrum disorder that has useful recommendations and suggestions for caregivers, practitioners, and policy makers.
Kazdin, A. E. (2008). Evidence-based treatment and practice: New opportunities to bridge clinical research and practice, enhance the knowledge base, and improve patient care. American Psychologist, 63(3), 146–159. doi:10.1037/0003-066x.63.3.146