Research in Developmental Disabilities vol:35 issue:10 pages:2463-2476
Problem or challenging behaviors are highly prevalent among persons with autism and bring along major risks for the individual with autism and his/her family. In order to reduce the problem behavior, several behavioral interventions are used. We conducted a quantitative synthesis of single-subject studies to examine the efficacy of behavioral interventions for reducing problem behavior in persons with autism. Two hundred and thirteen studies representing 358 persons with autism met the inclusion criteria and were included in the statistical analyses. Overall, we found that behavioral interventions were on average effective in reducing problem behavior in individuals with autism, but some interventions were significantly more effective than others. The results further showed that the use of positive (nonaversive) behavioral interventions was increasing over time. The behavioral interventions were on average equally effective regardless of the type of problem behavior that was targeted. Interventions preceded by a functional analysis reduced problem behavior significantly more than interventions not preceded by a functional analysis. Finally, treatment and experimental characteristics, but not participant characteristics, were statistically significant moderators of the behavioral treatment effectiveness.