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Monday, July 25, 2011

California and an Autism Literature Review

California illustrates what happens when there is a delay in assembling a literature view: the literature changes in the meantime. From the Department of Developmental Services:

Draft ASD Research

The Department of Developmental Services (Department) has undertaken a multi-year effort to compile the research on evidence-based interventions to assist families and service providers in meeting the treatment needs of individuals diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (Draft Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) Best Practice Guidelines for Effective Interventions). The Department began work on guidelines in 2006, and while we had anticipated publishing the guidelines in 2009, the contract was cancelled on two separate occasions to comply with Governor's Executive Orders suspending State contracts. Publication of the guidelines was also affected when the National Standards Project (NSP) published their intervention guidelines. The NSP provided the data review for the behavioral and educational interventions chapter of the Department's guidelines. Shortly before they published their guidelines, the NSP made significant changes to the rating criteria, format, and presentation of their data review. This required a complete reexamination of how the behavioral and educational intervention research was compiled for the Department.

Unfortunately, the four year delay in developing the guidelines has created a gap in the research on which they are based, making them not current. Specifically, the research covers the scientific literature published prior to June 2007. Over 1,000 articles on autism interventions have been published since June 2007. Approximately 200 of these articles meet the scientific rigor used in the Department's guidelines and are being reviewed by the contractors. In light of the significant research being conducted on autism spectrum disorders and how this research influences treatment options, the Department wants to ensure the final guidelines are based on appropriate and updated information.

The Department is committed to furthering its longstanding Autism Initiative and greatly appreciates your ongoing interest and commitment to individuals with autism.

Please select from the following links below for the draft research:

  1. Evaluating the Scientific Evidence for Interventions for ASD
  2. A Review of Educational and Behavioral Interventions
  3. A Review of Pharmacological and Complementary and Alternative Medicine Interventions
  4. A Review of Interventions for Adults with ASD
  5. Scientific Merit Rating Scale
  6. Treatment Effects Rating
  7. Strength of Evidence Classification System
  8. List of Articles Included in the Pharmacological and CAM Intervention Review
  9. List of Articles Included in the Adult Intervention Review
  10. Glossary

Public Comments:

The Department's contractors will be asked to review the public comments received as well as update their review of the scientific literature before the Department publishes final guidelines.

Please try to keep comments clear and concise. Please refer to specific section(s) and page number(s) when commenting on specific content. Please note that the research articles utilized for this draft were published prior to June 2007 and had to meet rigorous scientific research standards in order to be reviewed and rated. Other criteria for including or excluding information included the following:

  • Materials that were reviewed were limited to published, first-hand reports of experimental research that tested the effectiveness of an intervention.
  • Research was published in a peer-reviewed, scientific journal.
  • Research focused specifically on autism spectrum disorders.
  • Interventions targeted individuals with ASD.
  • Only research articles published in English were reviewed.

If you believe that an article published prior to June 2007 met the criteria outlined above and was not included in a review, please provide us with the complete article citation (author(s), title of article, title of journal, volume number, issue number, date, pages) and DDS will attempt to discern why the article was not included. Please note that, because DDS did not conduct the Review of Educational and Behavioral Interventions (it was conducted by the National Standards Project), DDS does not have the ability to determine if or why a specific article was not included in that review.

Comment Submission:

The public may submit comments electronically to or mail comments by September 1, 2011 to:

Department of Developmental Services
Community Services & Supports Division
1600 9th Street, Room 330, M.S. 3-8
Sacramento, CA 95814
ATTN: ASD Research Comments