Non-pharmacological interventions for adults with autism: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials

Renee Speyer, Yu-Wei Chen, Jae-Hyun Kim, Sarah Wilkes-Gillan, Anders Johan Nordahl-Hansen, Ho Ching Wu, Reinie Cordier*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


To determine the effects of non-pharmacological randomised controlled trials in adults with autism, a systematic review was conducted across five electronic databases. A total of 3865 abstracts were retrieved, of which 41 articles met all inclusion criteria: randomised controlled trial; non-pharmacological intervention; adults with autism; and English publication. Twenty included studies had strong methodological quality ratings. No meta-analysis could be performed due to heterogeneity between studies. Articles reported on interventions for (1) social functioning and language skills, (2) vocational rehabilitation outcomes, (3) cognitive skills training, and (4) independent living skills. Social functioning was the most studied intervention. PEERS for young adults and Project SEARCH plus ASD support interventions had the strongest evidence. Emerging evidence suggests non-pharmacological interventions could be effective.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages31
JournalReview Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Early online date12 Apr 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Apr 2021


  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Non-pharmacological intervention
  • Randomised control trials

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Non-pharmacological interventions for adults with autism: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this