< Back to Glossary

Developmental Intervention

Developmental interventions (also known as the Developmental Social-Pragmatic Model, the DSP model, the interactive model, or the child-oriented approach) are a wide group of interventions designed to target the core deficits within each child rather than his or her outward behaviours.

Developmental interventions are derived from research on typical child development that indicates a relationship between caregivers' responsivity and their child's level of social communication development.

According to Ingersoll et al (2005) Developmental interventions share several common characteristics

  • First, teaching follows the child's lead or interest; the adult engages in child-initiated interactions that are based on the child's interests and attention.
  • Second, the adult arranges the environment to encourage initiations from the child. Common strategies include playful obstruction (i.e., briefly interrupting an activity the child is doing)
  • Third, all communicative attempts, including unconventional communication, are responded to as if they were purposeful.
  • Fourth, emotional expressions and affect sharing are emphasized by the adult. The adult exaggerates his or her affective gestures and facial expressions and labels the child's emotional response.
  • Fifth, language and social input are adjusted to facilitate communicative growth.

Related Glossaries

Related Pages

Related Publications

There are 220 publications matching this term. Click Here to view the list (New Window).

About This Glossary

This glossary is designed to explain some of the jargon and gobbledygook used by some people when they talk about autism or research..

You may be able to find more information, including links to other parts of this website, by clicking on the title of an item.

If you can't find the word you are looking for, or you know of a word we should include, please email info@researchautism.net


The fact that an intervention is listed in this glossary does not necessarily mean that we agree with its use. Nor does it necessarily mean that there is any scientifically valid or reliable evidence behind it.