Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a major neurodegenerative disorder of children and infants. SMA is primarily caused by low levels of SMN protein owing to deletions or mutations of the SMN1 gene. SMN2, a nearly identical copy of SMN1, fails to compensate for the loss of the production of the functional SMN protein due to predominant skipping of exon 7. Several compounds, including antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) that elevate SMN protein from SMN2 hold the promise for treatment. An ASO-based drug currently under Phase III clinical trial employs intronic splicing silencer N1 (ISS-N1) as its target. Cumulative studies on ISS-N1 reveal a wealth of information with significance to the overall therapeutic development for SMA. Here, the authors summarize the mechanistic principles behind various antisense targets currently available for SMA therapy.