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National Autism Network

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National Standards Project- Synopsis

The National Autism Center launched the National Standards Project in 2005 to discover how families and professionals can effectively treat autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Published in 2009 and then again in 2015, the National Standards Report is the result of the multi-year project conducted by an expert panel of 45 of the top autism experts around the country and includes the most comprehensive analysis to date about treatments for individuals with ASD. With this report, parents, educators, service providers, physicians, and other professionals will have a manual that dictates how much research supports a specific treatment intervention.

Research is necessary to test the efficacy of treatment methods to determine if the treatment is not only effective, but also to determine if the treatment approach could possibly be harmful to the child’s development. The National Standards Report can help families and professionals determine which intervention services offer the most research support and if the current intervention method(s) being implemented is supported by research.

National Standards Project Phase 2 (2015)
The National Standards Project released Phase 2 of their review and analysis of autism treatment on April 2, 2015 (World Autism Awareness Day), 6 years after their initial publication in 2009. Phase 2 began in 2011 with the collection of new autism-related research published since 2007, the end of the period evaluated by Phase 1 of the NSP. The new report includes studies published between 2007 and February 2012 and includes an updated summary of ASD treatment literature for children and youth under age 22, an update of their original findings, added information, and provides an update on treatments. Treatments are categorized as being “Established,” “Emerging,” or “Unestablished.” Phase 2 also breaks down treatments into two categories: treatments for children, adolescents, and young adults under 22 years of age and treatments for adults age 22 and older. The report also includes a section titled “Recommendations for Intervention Selection,” which is designed to guide readers of the report to the proper treatments. The combined results of the NSP1 and NSP2 include data from more than 1,000 studies, making it the largest review of its kind for individuals with ASD.