Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry

Practitioner Review

Psychological and Educational Treatments for Autism

Patricia Howlin a1c1
a1 St George's Hospital Medical School, London, U.K.


The review discusses various interventions that have been used in the treatment of children with autism. It concludes that no single mode of treatment is ever likely to be effective for all children and all families. Instead, intervention will need to be adapted to individual needs and the value of approaches that involve a functional analysis of problems is explored. It is suggested that many so called “challenging” behaviours result from the child's fundamental difficulties in communication and social understanding, or from the ritualistic and obsessional tendencies that are also characteristic of autism. Possible ways in which parents and teachers might deal with problems in these areas are discussed. The importance of early diagnosis, and with it early, practical advice for families is stressed.

(Received May 12 1997)

Key Words: Autism; intervention; prevention of problems.

c1 Requests for reprints to: Dr Patricia Howlin, Department of Psychology, St George's Hospital Medical School, Cranmer Terrace, London SW17 0RE, U.K.