On the Noticeboard

Research Autism


Research Autism is the only UK charity exclusively dedicated to research into interventions in autism. Established in 2003 as the Autism Intervention Research Trust, they carry out high quality, independent research into new and existing health, education, social and other interventions.

The challenge for both adults and the parents of children on the autistic spectrum is getting to grips with the diagnosis as well as understanding the bewildering array of advice and types of treatment and therapies.

Treatment and support includes thousands of different interventions, including applied behaviour analysis (ABA), drama therapy, the gluten-free diet, Lego therapy, sensory integration training, swimming with dolphins, and vitamin supplements. Unfortunately, some treatments and therapies are also expensive, time consuming and potentially harmful.

In this new book written for parents and carers of children and adults on the autism spectrum, the authors provide an overview of the most commonly used interventions and therapies and guide readers through some simple steps to taking control and how to self-evaluate interventions.

Key take-aways include:
– What autism is and common issues facing people on the autism spectrum
– What research says about the treatments available
– Interventions which should be avoided as scientifically unfeasible and potentially harmful
– Best practice guidance from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE)
– Tools to help parents such as questions to ask
– Advice directly from people with autism and parents
This is currently the only book on autism treatments and therapies that meets the requirements of the NHS Information Standard, which means that the information is clear, accurate, balanced, evidence-based and up-to-date.

Jane Asher, Patron of Research Autism writes the foreword for the book and says: “There are many unsubstantiated ‘treatments’ – even ‘cures’ – that are suggested for autism. Few of these therapies are supported by any clinical research, but you can easily see how a desperate parent might leap at the idea of some ‘miracle cure’ – something that sadly happens only too often. Some of these interventions are positively harmful, others are at best ineffective and many are extremely expensive.”

Alex, parent of six-year-old Shaun said: “After our son was diagnosed with Autism we would literally try everything we could lay our hands on that promised to help. We followed up leads from
the internet and popular press and it seemed that many of the professionals were as much in the dark as we were. We now know that many of the things on offer were a waste of time; some little more than snake oil treatments. There is a desperate need for parents to know where to turn for impartial advice.”

Deepa Chief, Executive, Research Autism said: “As knowledge and awareness of autism grows, so does the need for access to the best available evidence-based information about how people with autism and their families can be supported. The diverse range of treatments and approaches on offer need thorough and careful consideration. I therefore warmly welcome the publication of this new book on choosing the right autism interventions, which aims to cut through the voluminous and sometimes baffling array of information that exists ‘out there’ about autism treatments, therapies and approaches.”

Choosing Autism Interventions: A Research-Based Guide for parents and careers is available from Pavilion, priced £19.95.