The present study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of an interactive multimedia training programme and a conventional therapist-instructed training in improving the learning behaviours of children with autism. A multiple-subject, single case-study time-series research design was adopted in the study. Six children with autism, aged 2 years 4 months to 2 years 10 months, were recruited by convenience sampling. They attended a 12-session training programme on basic concepts (e.g. colours, shapes) that was presented as an interactive multimedia training programme and also as a conventional, therapist-led training programme. The attending behaviours and appropriate responses of the subjects were videotaped for further analysis. Participants who attended the conventional therapist-instructed training programme generally showed improvement in attending behaviours and response rates; participants attending the multimedia programme also showed improvement in their attending behaviours and response rates. The results support the hypothesis that both training programmes are effective in improving the attending behaviours and appropriate responses of children with autism. The authors suggest that, because children with autism respond differently to different training approaches, customized training programmes should be considered for individual children. The implications of the methodology and the potential impact of the present study on the training of children with autism are discussed.