a. Adequate information concerning the children and families who participated, and who chose not to participate or withdrew from participation, including chronological age, developmental assessment data (including verbal and nonverbal IQ levels), standardized diagnoses, gender, race, family characteristics, socioeconomic status, and relevant health or other biological impairments;

b. description of the intervention in sufficient detail so that an external group could replicate it; detailed documentation is crucial especially if no treatment manual is available;

c. fidelity of treatment and degree of implementation;

d. specific objective measures of expected outcomes, assessed at regular intervals; and

e. measures of outcome that are independent of the intervention, in terms of both the evaluators and the measures, and include broad immediate and long-term effects on children and families, particularly generalization and maintenance effects.


Funders and performers of research should recognize that valuable information can be provided by a variety of approaches to research in intervention, including group experimental and single-subject designs.


In order to help educators and consumers make informed decisions about appropriate methods of intervention for particular children, federal agencies involved in autistic spectrum disorders initiatives (including the Office of Special Education Programs, the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders) and nonprofit agencies with similar national missions (such as Autism Society of America Foundation, Cure Autism Now, and National Alliance for Autism Research) should form a research task force and specifically allocate federal responsibilites for recruiting and funding a comprehensive program of research related to intervention and treatment. This program should include:

a. development of more specific, precise measures of important areas of outcome, such as social functioning, peer relationships, spontaneous communication and language, and the acquisition of competence in natural contexts (e.g., classroom, home);

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