Applied behaviour analysis (ABA)-based programmes are endorsed as the gold standard for treatment of children with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) in most of North America. This is not the case in most of Europe, where instead a non-specified ‘eclectic’ approach is adopted. We explored the social validity of ABA-based interventions with 15 European families who had experience with home-based, mainly self-managed, ABA-based programmes for their own child/ren with ASD. The results of the study highlighted the overwhelmingly positive impact that ABA-based interventions had on their children in areas such as social skills, challenging behaviour, communication, gross and fine motor skills, concentration, interaction, independence, overall quality of life and, most importantly, a feeling of hope for the future. Implications for European policy on ASD are discussed.