Systematic review of evidence-based interventions in science for students with autism spectrum disorders

Juliet Hart Barnett, Ashleigh J. Frankel, Kimberly W. Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are increasingly included in general education and are expected to access core content, including science. Development of science content knowledge, scientific literacy, and scientific thinking are emphasized in legislation as well as the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) as critical for all students. However, participation in science is often challenging for students with ASD given their difficulties with communication and vocabulary, and evidence on teaching science to students with disabilities is limited. This comprehensive literature review synthesized 10 studies of science interventions for students with ASD. Findings suggest that students with ASD require interventions to develop the background knowledge and high-level vocabulary necessary to be successful in science. Moreover, though studies related to instructional interventions in science for students with ASD are limited, studies suggest these students benefit from direct instruction with supplementary materials such as e-texts, graphic organizers, and scripted lessons as well as inquiry-based practices that provide hands-on exploration. Implications include the need for more empirically supported interventions applied to teaching science content to students with ASD, particularly in the general education classroom.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128-145
Number of pages18
JournalEducation and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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