Autism Research

Many parents are overwhelmed by the amount of information available on autism on the internet. Often the information is short on facts and heavy on emotion, playing on parental fears that we are missing out on a cure. As parents we need to learn how to be an informed consumer of autism treatment. Crucial to doing this is evaluating the research to see if what you are considering has any backing in science. Families of children with ASD are short on money and on time – we have little to waste on ineffective and expensive ‘treatment’. To date, what has proved to have the greatest impact is sound educational interventions, delivered by well trained professionals and para-professionals, working with informed and engaged parents.  International research has also endorsed this approach, as you will see from the information we have gathered below.

At ACT our goal is to help parents build their skills as an informed consumer to maximizing the positive outcomes for their child. Please feel free to call ACT’s Information Officers to discuss questions that you may have about whether research supports the type of treatment you are considering. We promise that you will get a sympathetic ear and the most reliable information we can find. We can also help you explore whether the autism funding provided by the BC government will cover this intervention.

  • Research Autism is a UK-based website sponsored by the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University. Research into a number of treatment approaches are evaluated at a number of levels – it is a great introduction to developing critical skills in evaluating research.
  • The Organization for Autism Research has a publication  Parent’s Guide to Research that offers parents information about how to read, understand and evaluate research studies.
  • The Association for Science in Autism Treatment helps parents understand the value of applied behavior analysis in treating autism and provides useful information about pseudoscience.
  • Autism Watch offers a scientific perspective on the variety of aspects of ASD and is designed primarily for families of children and adults with ASD as well as others who are treating or supporting people with ASD. The site provides basic information about and provides a scientific analysis of treatment approaches, reviews the various theories regarding the cause of autism and their merits along with a list of reliable sources of autism information.
  • CIRCA – The Centre for Interdisciplinary Research and Collaboration in Autism gives insight into the work that Canadian researchers are involved in. The University of British Columbia is the base for this new initiative to bring together autism researchers across Canada.

Interested in becoming involved in research?

Are you a BC parent interested in becoming involved in research? See ‘Participating in Autism Research‘ for online surveys and studies being done at Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia.