Choosing Autism Interventions: A Research-Based Guide

What People Say About This Book

Choosing Autism Interventions: A Research-Based GuideThis page contains feedback on the book "Choosing Autism Interventions: A Research-Based Guide".


For reviews which have appeared in magazines and journals please see Reviews of the Book


Shell Spectrum, a parent on the autism spectrum

'As someone diagnosed with autism who also has children with autism, I found this book very informative, easy to read, honest, well written and unbiased. It is a great resource for newly diagnosed people, parents, adults, professionals and anyone with an interest in the facts about autism. It invites the reader to learn all they can about making decisions regarding autism and autism interventions. It is empowering and powerful in many ways.'

Gen Hartup, mother of two children on the autism spectrum

'This book is necessary and long overdue for parents. It is well structured with clear and easy to follow text, full of relevant and unambiguous information. There is a good balance of the pros and cons of an intervention supported by current research with good explanations of medical and technical terminology.'

Back To Top

Karen Wilmshurst, Advocacy Services Manager, Autism Wessex

''I think parents, carers and people who work in the field of support will find this a good source of unbiased, research based information on a wide range of interventions. It is very accessible in terms of language used and visually has clear sections and explanations. If anything, it does clearly highlight the need for more scientific, evidence based research into autism and the various interventions available. Very useful and a good piece of work.'

Back To Top

Jane Asher, Patron, Research Autism

"If this book can reach enough of those who need it, I suspect it will be of more help to the autistic community than almost anything else in my lifetime.

"The first question any parent or carer of someone recently diagnosed with autism will ask is 'What can be done?" In this vulnerable position, many people are tempted to turn to approaches and interventions - including so-called 'cures' - that may well be useless, and in many cases positively harmful. This book may not have the answer, but in its calmly authoritative and conscientious way it lays down the facts about just what does - might - might not - and definitely won't - work"

"It's just as important for parents to find out what doesn't work as what does. There are some cruel, useless and potentially dangerous so called 'treatments' out there: from drastic attempts to 'remove metals from the body' to the use of bleach enemas. It's not putting it too strongly to say that this book may well not only help those caring for someone with autism to find the most helpful intervention, but may well save lives.

"We still don't have the answer to how we can ensure that someone on the autistic spectrum will make the most of their potential and enjoy a fulfilling, stress-free life, but we know a great deal about what can help - from early intervention with the right support and education to ensuring that physical surroundings are autistic-friendly and that life is as predictable and routine-based as possible. This book calmly examines some of the interventions that have been posited, and calmly, rationally and scientifically lays out the pros and cons, thereby helping parents, carers and those with autism themselves to make informed choices."

Back To Top

Crade, mother of a child on the autism spectrum

'Choosing Autism Interventions is a comprehensive guide on all the possible interventions for treating autism available to date. It is the first reference book of its kind and it takes a completely unbiased, research-based approach to listing every option possible. it should be welcome by the autism community as a valuable tool that systematises an otherwise "minefield" of options. It is not prescriptive or judgemental, but a compendium of organised information that can save time and effort to parents and professionals who may wish to check on unknown terms, compare options, or get introduced to therapies that may be applicable to their children or patients. Congratulations to the authors on such an effort.'

Back To Top

KimM, professional

'Excellent resource. Very helpful to a busy professional when there is so much around. Their criteria is also helpful to look into issues. Also where there is not enough research spurs me on to do some!'

Back To Top

MG, professional

'If you are looking for a contemporary and comprehensive review to help navigate the minefield and grand claims of autism "interventions", then look no further. It painstakingly details the evidence base for almost any intervention you have ever heard of, and highlights just how sparse this is for most of them. An essential guide for people on the spectrum, families, and professionals alike.'

Back To Top

Pam Czerniewska, speech and language therapist

'This is an essential and comprehensive reference book to sit alongside the NICE Guidelines (2011; 2013). All professionals should have this book to hand to help guide parents and practitioners who are often overwhelmed by the promises of interventions, with claims that they work too often unsupported by evidence. Bernard Fleming and colleagues have been compiling reviews of interventions for Research Autism for some years and this book rests on a very thorough knowledge of the state of autism research.

'My sympathies go to the reviewer who wants clearer answers to the question 'What helps?'. Many parents ask this. We don't have the answers (yet) due to the lack of scientific research, though we do know which interventions are potentially dangerous and which are worth investigating further. Fleming and colleagues explain clearly what is meant by trustworthy research and how most interventions fall well short of sufficient evidence. Maybe this book will stimulate much needed funding in the area.'

Back To Top

David Kirwanon, Support worker

'I work as a support worker and advocate for those with autism/Asperger's, as well as being a parent of three children with autism.

'The guide is an excellent resource for parents and professionals, it is unbiased and sticks to the facts and it is based on the research available on the interventions themselves. Waffle free and precise, which is exactly what is needed.

'It helps to guide you through the maze of interventions that are out there, giving you enough information to make an informed choice, its also a handy reference tool for those that work in the autism field too.

'I highly recommend the book to parents and professionals alike, well done all involved in this book.'

Back To Top

Jo Worgan, Editor and Senior Writer, Autism Daily Newscast

'Choosing Autism Interventions, A Research Based Guide, is a joint publication between Research Autism, Autism West Midlands and Dimensions. The authors are Bernard Fleming, Elisabeth Hurley and the Goth.

'The first thing I need to say is that I love this book. I was so very excited to finally read it, and after having heard so many wonderful things about it, I have to say that I was not disappointed.

'This book I feel should be given to every family whose child is given a diagnosis of autism, as it contains everything you will ever need to know (and I mean everything). This is the holy grail of autism books. I really wish that this book had been available when my son was given his diagnosis, nearly three years ago.

'This book presents in jargon free language what autism is, in reference to the latest definitions and guidelines. There is also an entire section that lists interventions, and then a further section containing useful information. At the end of the book there are also first hand accounts from those who are directly affected by autism; so the individual, parents, caregivers and so on.

'This book is neutral, it is Switzerland, it merely presents the facts so that you as the reader, can make an informed decision. All the information given has been thoroughly researched and is evidence based. It is most importantly, unbiased and carries the NHS Information Standard quality mark.

'I will break the book down into the sections already mentioned so as to give a more detailed description.

'The book is colour coded into sections. The first section is:

'Key information

'This section gives the reader an overview of what autism is and I feel that for any parent or caregiver who is new to the world of autism having just been given a diagnosis, then this information is vital. I remember that feeling of being completely lost when my son was given his diagnosis, and of not really fully understanding what autism meant. The information presented here is clear and concise.


'This is the main body of the book and describes in great detail all of the different interventions that are used, as well as the evidence based research behind the intervention. This section covers topics such as behavioural therapies, dietary interventions, psychological and sensory based interventions, medication as well as animal assisted therapies. It covers everything. Once you have read a particular intervention and want to learn more, then there is a comprehensive reference list that will give you further information and direction.

'Making the Decision.

'This section pretty much sums everything up and provides you with help in choosing a particular intervention. It also provides a summary of questions to ask. It provides guidance from NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence).


'This is the section that includes personal perspectives. I know that as a parent of a newly diagnosed child, this would have been the section that I would have read first.

'I cannot praise this book highly enough. I can only talk as a parent, but this book I feel should be recommended to every parent caring for a child on the spectrum, as well as teachers, the medical profession - in fact everyone. It covers everything you will ever need to know in a well structured and easy to read format.

'Thank you to all involved for writing such an informative and much needed book. It will help so many parents out there, who at the moment feel completely lost.'

Back To Top

Arlene Cassidy, CEO AutismNI

'Another book on autism interventions risks provoking no more than a passing interest among professionals, parents and individuals with autism. After all, expectations have been raised before, only to be disappointed. However, this book is different and deserves respect. "Choosing Autism Interventions: A Research-Based Guide" has raised the bar and succeeds where others have failed. The analyses of interventions is anchored in the NICE framework and avoids the toxic influences of bias and conflicts of interest that have characterised so many other books on the subject.

'Fleming, Hurley and the Goth combine personal experience with research kudos and trustworthiness. They approach the subject by first asserting quality control through the NHS Information Standard quality mark. The authors then separate wheat from chaff in a matter of fact way without labour or emotion. It is refreshingly honest and well written.

'The 27 chapters of the book are divided into five sections which are colour-coded for ease of reference; a good idea which will make the book accessible and attractive to readers.  Interventions are classified according to broad types with acknowledgement of over-lap. Common, and some not so common, interventions are then examined against the existing evidence base, according to set standards. The book concludes with an outline of key principles of good practice that will help inform decision making.

'A brief analysis of the nature of evidence and some discussion on the challenges surrounding research into autism interventions was a welcome backdrop. Some more discussion on ascertaining the 'risk' attached to interventions would have been welcome as many intervention research studies do not actively measure for harms. Stating 'no risk' may simply mean that harmful effects were not directly studied, as opposed to an intervention having no risks. Indirect harms such as time wasted, loss of opportunity, financial costs, family disruption and stress, are undeclared consequences of many comprehensive interventions.

'This is an exemplary piece of work and strikes a tone of objectivity and balance that is rarely seen in books claiming a similar purpose. It should be on the essential reading list of those who have a professional responsibility to advise, train or support individuals on the autism spectrum and their families. It is a recommended resource for any parent whose child has received a diagnosis and who now needs objective and impartial information on the best way forward. A gem of a book.'

Back To Top

Related Pages