Appropriate educational objectives for children with autistic spectrum disorders should be observable, measurable behaviors and skills. These objectives should be able to be accomplished within 1 year and expected to affect a child’s participation in education, the community, and family life. They should include the development of:

a. Social skills to enhance participation in family, school, and community activities (e.g., imitation, social initiations and response to adults and peers, parallel and interactive play with peers and siblings);

b. Expressive verbal language, receptive language, and nonverbal communication skills;

c. A functional symbolic communication system;

d. Increased engagement and flexibility in developmentally appropriate tasks and play, including the ability to attend to the environment and respond to an appropriate motivational system;

e. Fine and gross motor skills used for age appropriate functional activities, as needed;

f. Cognitive skills, including symbolic play and basic concepts, as well as academic skills;

g. Replacement of problem behaviors with more conventional and appropriate behaviors; and

h. Independent organizational skills and other behaviors that underlie success in regular education classrooms (e.g., completing a task independently, following instructions in a group, asking for help).


Ongoing measurement of educational objectives must be documented in order to determine whether a child is benefiting from a particular intervention. Every child’s response to the educational program should be assessed after a short period of time. Progress should be monitored frequently and objectives adjusted accordingly.



In general, there is consistent agreement across comprehensive intervention programs about a number of features, though practical and, sometimes, ethical considerations have made well-controlled studies with random assignment very difficult to conduct without direct evaluation. Characteristics of the most appropriate intervention for a given child must

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