Evidence Based Procedures

for Individuals with Autism

Visual Schedules

Schedules are an effective based procedure recognized by the National Autism Center. Visual Activity Schedules (VAS) are a series of images or pictures that represent a sequence of events. The purpose of it is to prepare the individual for the next activity within the sequence. VAS can be used for all ages with individuals with mild to severe ASD. They are used to generalize, maintain and improve skills in a variety of settings such as the general education setting, resource rooms, self-contained classrooms, within the community and in the home. “Specifically, VAS can be used: (a) to teach on-task, on-schedule, and appropriate and independent transitions; (b) to improve latency to task from task direction, percentage of correctly completed responses, task, or task analysis steps; and (c) decrease level of prompts necessary for transitions” (Knight, Sartini & Spriggs, 2014, p.173). Schedules help to reduce problem behaviors specifically tantrums caused by transitions (Knight, Sartini & Spriggs, 2014).

Pivotal Response Treatment

Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) is an evidence based intervention that focuses on developing positive social interaction and communication. This intervention is derived from Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) for individuals with autism. It is used in naturalistic settings and puts an emphasis on “pivotal” areas which include initiation of social interactions, empathy, response to multiple cues, self-management, and motivation. These skills are necessary for achievement in many areas. PRT focuses on the individual and is primarily used during play. While it is commonly used for pre-k and elementary students it can be used with all age groups. Motivational strategies are used and emphasize natural and meaningful reinforcement. The individual plays a crucial role in what activities and objects are used during PRT (Genc & Vuran, 2013).

Peer Training

A common intervention used with individuals with ASD is peer training. This involves typically developing peers modeling appropriate social behavior. Peer modeling is considered an evidence-based practice by both the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders and the National Standards Project. A number of behavioral modification techniques can be used with this intervention. Peer Training has been proven to improve social behaviors and peer interaction. These improvements are seen in skills such as commenting, requesting, non-verbal communication, and turn-taking. It is important that individuals with ASD interact with their typical peers in natural setting whether it be in school, during leisure activities, or in the community (Mcfadden, Kamps, & Heitzman-Powell, 2014).

Where to find services in your area

The following companies provide Applied Behavior Analysis in the South Jersey area. They can provide you with these evidence based procedures.

Brett DiNovi & Associates
1771 Springdale Rd.
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
Phone: (856)-628-1686

The Learning Well LLC
50 Budd Ave.
Pemberton, NJ 08068
Phone: (609)-315-5992

The New Behavioral Network
2 Pin Oak Lane
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
Phone: (856)-669-0211

Amazing Transformations
503 White Horse Pike
Haddon Heights, NJ 08035
Phone: 1- (888)- 859-7749


Genc, G. B., & Vuran, S. (2013). Examination of Studies Targeting Social Skills with Pivotal Response Treatment. Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice, 13(3), 1730-1742. doi:10.12738/estp.2013.3.1549

Knight, V., Sartini, E., & Spriggs, A. (2014). Evaluating Visual Activity Schedules as Evidence-Based Practice for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 157-178. Retrieved April 23, 2015.

Mcfadden, B., Kamps, D., & Heitzman-Powell, L. (2014). Social communication effects of peer-mediated recess intervention for children with autism. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 1699-1712. Retrieved April 23, 2015.