Systematic Review: Recommendations for Rehabilitation in ASD and ID From Clinical Practice Guidelines



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Journal Article

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Publication Title

Archives of rehabilitation research and clinical translation





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AGREE-II, Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation II, ASD, autism spectrum disorder, Autism spectrum disorder, Guideline, ID, intellectual disability, Intellectual disability, Neurobehavioral manifestations, Neurodevelopmental disorders, Rehabilitation, Therapeutics, WHO, World Health Organization


Objective: To identify and summarize clinical practice guidelines for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and intellectual disability (ID) for the Package of Interventions for Rehabilitation for the World Health Organization (WHO). Data Sources: Academic databases, Google Scholar, guideline databases, and professional society websites were searched using the general criteria "ASD/ID" AND "rehabilitation" AND "guideline," restricted to English-only guidelines. Study Selection: Work group members independently screened titles and abstracts (1952 ASD; 1027 ID) and excluded articles if not (1) a guideline; (2) about rehabilitation; (3) published since 2008; or (4) about ASD/ID. Full-text screening (29 ASD; 5 ID) involved 3 additional exclusion criteria: (1) contained conflict of interest; (2) lacked information on strength of recommendation; or (3) failed the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation II instrument. Six guidelines (4 ASD: 2 on youth, 1 on adults, 1 on all ages; 2 ID: 1 on challenging behaviors, 1 on mental health) resulted. Data Extraction: Work group members extracted 524 recommendations (386 ASD; 138 ID) from the guidelines including the level of evidence, diagnostic and age group, recommendation type (assessment, intervention, service), target, and valence. Data Synthesis: Of the 270 intervention recommendations (212 ASD; 58 ID), only 36 for ASD and 47 for ID were empirically based. Most comprised biomedical (23%), pharmacologic (29%), and psychosocial (21%) interventions for ASD and behavioral (14%), pharmacologic (29%), and psychological (14%) interventions for ID. Intervention recommendations primarily targeted coexisting conditions (56% ASD; 93% ID), whereas core symptoms received much less attention (26% ASD). Conclusions: Clinical practice guidelines reviewed for ASD and ID primarily contained recommendations based on expert opinion, with the plurality of recommendations relating to pharmacologic treatment. Vital next steps include identifying relevant interventions for inclusion in the WHO Package and continuing to conduct rigorous intervention research, particularly on core symptoms of these conditions, to extend recommendations for high-quality guidelines.

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