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Keywords:

  • autism;
  • intervention;
  • pervasive developmental disorder;
  • systematic review;
  • treatment;
  • World Health Organisation

Background  Although interventions for children with pervasive developmental disorders (PDD) have been the focus of research effort and evidence reviews in many Western countries, this evidence has not been assessed in the context of low- and middle-income (LAMI) countries especially in terms of the fit with different cultures and resources.

Method  As a part of the WHO MH-GAP project, we carried out a systematic review of published literature relating to interventions for PDD in LAMI countries. Given the small amount of direct evidence found, we supplemented the review with findings from existing relevant evidence reviews to draw practical recommendations.

Results  We found only four controlled studies evaluating an intervention for children with PDD in a LAMI country. These studies all evaluated different interventions. A systematic search of controlled studies of evidence-based parenting training interventions (Incredible Years and Triple P) in non-LAMI countries identified two studies both indicating successful outcomes.

Conclusions  The evidence base for interventions for PDDs in LAMI countries is sparse, and to inform practical and future research recommendations, it is important to consider potentially deliverable behavioural parent training interventions. Such interventions need to be explored in LAMI countries when delivered in primary and secondary healthcare contexts.