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Applied behavioural analysis for autistic spectrum disorder

Published June 2015

Download the full evidence summary PDF: ABA

Please Note: This summary was produced more than 4 years ago. Information provided may be out of date. If you think it would be helpful to update this summary please contact is at

What were we asked?

A parent asked us about Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) for children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD), and whether it is effective.

Key findings

Applied behaviour analysis (ABA) is an approach to understanding and modifying behaviours.

Early intensive behavioural intervention (EIBI) is an individualised treatment programme based on ABA delivered by professionals or parents.

Research evidence suggests EIBI can have positive effects on adaptive behaviour, language skills, and IQ for many, but not all, children with ASD.

More high-quality research is needed: to establish the characteristics of children most likely to respond to EIBI, to evaluate the long-term effectiveness, and to compare this approach to other available therapies

Note: This information is produced by PenCRU researchers and reviewed by external experts. The views expressed are those of PenCRU at the University of Exeter Medical School and do not represent the views of the Cerebra charity, or any other parties mentioned. We strongly recommend seeking medical advice before undertaking any treatments/therapies.