DIR Method and Autism Ranking: Limited positive evidence

Current Research

We have identified twelve scientific studies of the DIR method as an intervention for children on the autism spectrum published in peer-reviewed journals published in English.

These studies included more than 300 participants aged between 2 and 6 years old and included children with autism, autistic disorder and pervasive developmental disorder - not otherwise specified.

  • Some of the studies (such as Casenhiser et al, 2013; Dionne and Martini, 2011; Liao et al, 2014; Solomon et al, 2007; Solomon et al, 2014) reported increased social interaction and communication between the children and parents
  • Some of the studies  (Liao et al, 2004; Pajareya  and Nopmaneejumruslers, 2011) reported improvements across a  range of areas, such as emotional functioning  and/or daily living skills
  • One of the studies (Sealy and Glovinsky, 2016) reported increased parental reflective functioning

One of the studies (Hilton and Seal, 2007) reported that the DIR method was slightly less effective than discrete trial training in the case of the two twin brothers studied.

- Studies not included

Please note:  we have identified a number of studies which we did not include in our evaluation for a variety of reasons

A study by Wieder and Greenspan, 2005 appeared in the Journal of Developmental and Learning Disorders, which is published by The Interdisciplinary Council on Development and Learning, Inc.. The latter is an organisation specifically set up to promote the DIR Method. We therefore do not consider this study to be sufficiently independent for us to draw any meaningful conclusions.There are a number of other studies which do not appear to include any participants on the autism spectrum or which were not published in peer-reviewed journals and we have not included these.

31 Oct 2017
Last Review
01 Mar 2016
Next Review
01 Mar 2019