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  • Educating Persons with Autistic Spectrum Disorder –

    A Systematic Literature Review

    Caroline Bond, Wendy Symes, Judith Hebron, Neil Humphrey and Gareth Morewood, University of Manchester

    Ed u

    catin g Perso

    n s w

    ith A

    u tistic Sp

    ectru m

    D iso

    rd er – A

    Sy stem

    atic Literatu re Review

    – N o

    : 2 0

    NCSE RESEARCH REPORTS NO: 20

    http://www.ncse.ie

  • A report commissioned by the NCSE. All NCSE research reports undergo peer review.

    2016

    The National Council for Special Education has funded this research. Responsibility for the research (including any errors or omissions) remains with the authors.

    The views and opinions contained in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Council.

  • © NCSE

    The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) was originally set up under the Education Act (1998) in December 2003, and was formally established under the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act on 1st October 2005.

    National Council for Special Education 1-2 Mill Street

    Trim Co Meath

    An Chomhairle Náisiúnta um Oideachas Speisialta 1-2 Sráid an Mhuilinn

    Baile Átha Troim Co na Mí

    T: 046 948 6400 F: 046 948 6404

    www.ncse.ie

    http://www.ncse.ie

  • Educating Persons with Autistic Spectrum Disorder –

    A Systematic Literature Review

    Caroline Bond, Wendy Symes, Judith Hebron, Neil Humphrey and Gareth Morewood, University of Manchester

    NCSE RESEARCH REPORTS NO: 20

    http://www.ncse.ie

  • Educating Persons with Autistic Spectrum Disorder – A Systematic Literature Review

  • Authors’ acknowledgements We would like to thank the Advisory Group for their advice and suggestions throughout the research process. We would also like to thank Lawrence Wo and Robert Buck for their perseverance throughout the process of coding the studies and Aleesha Coupland for her support with the formatting of this report.

    Educating Persons with Autistic Spectrum Disorder – A Systematic Literature Review i

  • Foreword The NCSE commissioned this review of the research evidence available on educational interventions for children with ASD.

    We wanted to build on the knowledge base established by the International Review of the Literature of Evidence of Best Practice Provision in the Education of Persons with ASD, which the NCSE published in 2009 (Parsons et al.). This report considers the relevant research studies published between 2008 and 2013.

    The researchers considered over 1,000 studies and determined that 176 of these were relevant for inclusion. 85 of these were rated high enough to be included in the final report. Despite the considerable amount of research in this area since 2008, it is disappointing to note that similar limitations in the evidence base to those identified by Parsons et al. in 2008, still prevail. There continues to be limited longitudinal research to determine if interventions result in long-term changes; limited large scale studies, which reduces the generalisability of findings; limited direct research in schools, creating challenges for translating interventions into real school settings; and limited research on effective interventions for older students with ASD and research that includes the views of students and parents.

    The researchers conclude the evidence provided in the systematic review and guidance strands indicates that a range of provision types and intervention strategies are needed. For school age ASD provision, the research states that interventions need to focus on key features of ASD, particularly social interaction and flexibility of thought with access to supplementary learning, communication and life skills interventions as needed.

    Teresa Griffin Chief Executive Officer

    2016

    Educating Persons with Autistic Spectrum Disorder – A Systematic Literature Reviewii

  • Table of Contents Authors’ acknowledgements i

    Foreword ii

    List of Tables and Figures viii

    Acronyms x

    Glossary xii

    Executive Summary 1

    Background 1

    Methodology 2

    Main Findings 2

    Interventions with the most evidence 2

    Interventions with moderate evidence 3

    Interventions with some evidence 4

    Interventions with a small amount of evidence or insufficient evidence in this review 4

    Case studies 4

    Guidance documents 5

    Conclusion 5

    Issues Identified and Implications 5

    1 Introduction and Context 7

    1.1 Introduction 7

    1.2 Irish Context 7

    1.2.1 Legislation and policy 7

    1.2.2 Prevalence rates 8

    1.3 Educational Provision 9

    1.3.1 Early Years provision 9

    1.3.2 Home tuition 9

    1.3.3 School age provision 10

    1.4 Teacher Education 11

    1.5 Evaluation of Provision 11

    1.6 Educational Interventions for Children and Young People with ASD 12

    1.6.1 Diagnosis and diagnostic terminology 12

    1.6.2 Prevalence of ASD 13

    1.6.3 Evaluating educational interventions for children with ASD 13

    1.7 Summary 15

    Educating Persons with Autistic Spectrum Disorder – A Systematic Literature Review iii

  • 2 Methodology 16

    2.1 Overview 16

    2.2 Procedure: Systematic Literature Review Strand 17

    2.2.1 Systematic literature review process 17

    2.2.2 Review Stage 1: Literature searching 18

    2.2.3 Review Stage 2: Reference harvesting 20

    2.2.4 Review Stage 3: Application of inclusion criteria 20

    2.2.5 Review Stage 4: Development of coding framework 23

    2.2.6 Review stage 5: Using the coding framework 26

    2.2.7 Review stage 6: Presentation and description of review findings 27

    2.3 Procedure: Case Study Strand 27

    2.3.1 Overview 27

    2.3.2 Case study data collection 28

    2.4 Procedure: Guidance Strand 28

    2.5 Data Synthesis 30

    3 Results: Systematic Literature Review 31

    3.1 Overview of Included Studies 31

    3.1.1 Quality and type of studies 31

    3.1.2 Country of origin 32

    3.1.3 Studies by age group and focus of intervention 32

    3.1.4 Intervention type 35

    3.2 Presentation of Data and Interpretation 36

    3.3 Studies Focusing on Joint Attention Interventions 38

    3.3.1 Findings from the joint attention section 40

    3.4 Studies focusing on social interventions 41

    3.4.1 Findings from the social interventions section 52

    3.5 Studies focusing on play-based interventions 54

    3.5.1 Findings from the play-based interventions section 57

    3.6 Studies focusing on communication interventions 58

    3.6.1 Findings from the communication section 63

    3.7 Studies focusing on challenging/interfering behaviour interventions 64

    3.7.1 Findings from the challenging/interfering behaviour interventions section 73

    3.8 Studies focusing on pre-academic/academic skills 75

    3.8.1 Findings from the pre-academic and academic interventions section 79

    3.9 Studies focusing on school readiness skills 80

    Educating Persons with Autistic Spectrum Disorder – A Systematic Literature Reviewiv

  • 3.10 Studies focusing on cognitive skills 81

    3.11 Studies focusing on adaptive/self-help skills 82

    3.11.1 Findings from the adaptive/self-help skills interventions section 84

    3.12 Studies focusing on motor skills interventions 85

    3.13 Studies focusing on comprehensive intervention programmes 86

    3.13.1 Findings from the comprehensive intervention programmes section 92

    3.14 Summary of evidence 94

    3.15 Discussion of systematic review results 97

    3.15.1 Implications for practitioners 97

    3.15.2 Implications by age and setting type 97

    3.15.3 Implications for policy makers 98

    3.15.4 Implications for researchers 99

    4 Best Practice Guidance 100

    4.1 Introduction 100

    4.1.1 Autistic spectrum disorder guideline summary (New Zealand) 108

    4.1.2 Autism strategy and action plan (Northern Ireland) 110

    4.1.3 Interventions for autism spectrum disorders: State of the evidence (Maine) 110

    4.1.4 Early intervention for children with autism spectrum disorders: Guidelines for good practice (Australia) 111

    4.1.5 National standards report: The national standards project – Addressing the need for evidence-based practice (US) 112

    4.1.6 What is good practice in autism education? (UK) 113

    4.1.7 Education options for children with autism spectrum disorder (Australia, South) 114

    4.1.8 Educational provision for children and young people on the autism spectrum living in England: A review of current practice, issues and challenges (UK) 115

    4.1.9 Evidence-based practices in educating children with autism (North Carolina) 115

    4.1.10 Educational provision and outcomes for people on the autism spectrum – Full technical report (UK) 117

    4.1.11 Autism: The management and support of children and young people on the autism spectrum (England and Wales) 117

    4.1.12 Education and autism spectrum disorders in Australia: The provision of appropriate educational services for school-age students with autism spectrum disorders in Australia (Australia) 118

    4.1.13 Schools report 2013: Are schools

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