Autism Spectrum Disorder Interventions in Mainland China: a Systematic Review

  • Olivia Ann Sullivan
  • Chongying WangEmail author
Review Paper


Research on effective interventions for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has historically been focused on Western populations and little is known in China. This literature review sought to determine the current state of ASD intervention research in mainland China, with respect to the evidence-based practice (EBP) movement in the treatment of ASD. A methodical search process of refereed articles yielded 33 studies from 2003 through August 2018 meeting the selection criteria for inclusion and analysis. The majority of articles (76%) used either a true EBP or an idiosyncratic behavior intervention package (IBIP) including at least one EBP to treat ASD. The total number of articles, and the number of articles testing IBIPs, has risen sharply in the past few years. Of studies testing true EBPs, the most popular EBP (n = 3) was parent-implemented intervention. All studies, regardless of the type of intervention, only included children or young adolescents. Although more definitive conclusions cannot be drawn without a meta-analysis of the literature, parent-implemented intervention of established interventions for ASD appears to be a promising route for mainland China until resources are more sufficient throughout the country, as these can be both evidence-based and culturally competent. Future research should include a meta-analysis of interventions for ASD in mainland China, as well as more rigorous testing of true EBPs and IBIPs that truly meet the needs of autistic individuals in China.


Autism spectrum disorder Mainland China Evidence-based practice Intervention 


Funding Information

This research was supported by grants from the Humanities and Social Sciences Youth Foundation of the Ministry of Education of China (13YJCZH167) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, Nankai University (Z1A2205599) to the correspondence author.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest to declare.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committees and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social Psychology, Zhou Enlai School of GovernmentNankai UniversityTianjinChina

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