logo

Ratings of Treatment Studies for Autism

Child with autism riding a horse Our ratings are designed to tell you what scientific evidence has been published in peer-reviewed journals that supports or does not support the effectiveness of a particular intervention for use with people on the autism spectrum.

The rating for each intervention is based on the quality and the number of scientific research studies on that intervention.

The greater the number of high quality research studies which support the intervention, the higher the number of ticks.

The greater the number of high quality research studies which do not support the intervention, the higher the number of crosses.

When we have been been unable to identify any research studies on a given intervention, this does not prove that the intervention is ineffective. It simply shows that we have been unable to identify any relevant studies from a range of relevant databases and other sources

We are aware that this approach may not reflect the views of all our readers, but only in this way can we be sure that the findings we report are based on the most reliable, valid and unbiased data available at the current time. We may of course modify the rating for an intervention when new scientific data on that intervention are published.


Disclaimer

Please note that our ratings do not constitute a recommendation about whether or not an intervention is suitable for a particular individual on the autism spectrum.. Each individual on the autism spectrum is different and what works for one individual may not work for another.


Grading Individual Interventions

3 ticks. Very strong, positive evidence Very strong, positive evidence

 

  • ≥2 Grade A studies or
  • 1 Grade A study and ≥3 Grade B studies

Majority of studies showing significant positive effects

 

2 ticks. Strong, positive evidence Strong, positive evidence

 

  • 1 Grade A study or
  • ≥3 Grade B studies

The majority of these studies show significant positive effects

 

1 tick. Limited positive evidence Limited, positive evidence

  • 1 Grade B study or
  • ≥3 Grade C studies

Majority of studies showing significant positive effects

 

Zero. Insufficient or mixed evidence Insufficient/Mixed evidence

 

Some Grade B/C studies but findings inconsistent or Grade D or < 3 Grade C studies only.

 

No evidence No evidence

 

We have been unable to identify any studies of this intervention being used to help people with autism spectrum disorders published in peer-reviewed journals

1 tick. Some negative evidence Some negative evidence

 

  • 1 Grade B study or
  • ≥3 Grade C studies

Majority of studies showing significant negative effects

 

2 crosses. Strong, negative evidence Strong negative evidence

 

  • 1 Grade A study or
  • ≥3 Grade B studies

Majority of studies showing significant negative effects

 

3 crosses. Very strong, negative evidence Very strong negative evidence

 

  • ≥2 Grade A studies or
  • 1 Grade A study and ≥3 Grade B studies

Majority of studies showing significant negative effects

 

Ungraded Ungraded

We have provided some information about this intervention but we have not yet had the opportunity to rate the scientific evidence for its effectiveness or we are in the process of regrading it.

 

Not Applicable Not Applicable

 

It is not possible to provide a rank for this intervention. This is usually because the intervention described, such as speech and language therapy, incorporates a wide range of other interventions, methods and techniques.

 

Harmful effects Evidence of harmful effects.

Objective evidence indicating significant adverse/harmful effects.


Grading Individual Studies

Grade A

Methodologically rigorous studies with adequate statistical power

Grade B

Well conducted controlled trials. This includes

a) Non-randomised control group study, where there is adequate statistical power and where the study is conducted by researchers independent of the intervention
b) Randomised control trial which does not meet the criteria for Grade A e.g. where there is inadequate statistical power

Grade C

a) Case series study, where there is a sufficient number of participants, where there is robust statistical analysis e.g. regression analysis.
b) Staggered or ABA multiple baseline study where there is a sufficient number of participants.
c) Randomised control trial or control group study, crossover/reversal/withdrawal study which does not meet the criteria for Grade B

Grade D

a) Studies which do not meet the criteria for other grades e.g. case series where there is insufficient number of participants, or where there is no robust statistical analysis.

Such studies and trials to be published in English-speaking peer-reviewed journals.


Related Pages

Quick link:
http://www.researchautism.net/our-ratings-system
Updated
25 Oct 2017