Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) Treatments
A Answers (10)
There is no cure for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Therapies and behavioral interventions are designed to remedy specific symptoms and can bring about substantial improvement. The ideal treatment plan coordinates therapies and interventions that meet the specific needs of individual children. Most health care professionals agree that the earlier the intervention, the better.
Educational/behavioral interventions: Therapists use highly structured and intensive skill-oriented training sessions to help children develop social and language skills, such as Applied Behavioral Analysis. Family counseling for the parents and siblings of children with ASD often helps families cope with the challenges of living with a child with ASD.
Medications: Doctors may prescribe medications for treatment of specific ASD-related symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Antipsychotic medications are used to treat severe behavioral problems. Seizures can be treated with one or more anticonvulsant drugs. Medications used for attention deficit disorder can help decrease impulsivity and hyperactivity.
Other therapies: There are a number of controversial therapies or interventions available for people with ASD, but few, if any, are supported by scientific studies. Parents should use caution before adopting any unproven treatments. Although dietary interventions have been helpful in some children, parents should follow their child's nutritional status carefully.
This answer is bases on source informatin from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
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In general, the traditional approach to treating autism includes behavioral therapy and special education. Many different programs are available to help address the social, language, and behavioral problems associated with autism.
Although no medication is specifically designed for autism, some patients may benefit from medications. However, medications do not treat the underlying cause of autism. Instead, they help treat the symptoms of the disorder. For instance, some patients may benefit from medications to help treat hyperactivity, short attention span, and seizures, which are often associated with autism. Parents and caregivers should talk with the patient's healthcare providers about the potential side effects and benefits of medications before starting treatment.
Behavioral therapy: The foundation of autism treatment is behavioral therapy. For more than 30 years, several different types of behavioral therapy have helped autistic patients improve their communication and social skills, as well as their learning abilities and adaptive behaviors. Behavioral therapy has been shown to reduce inappropriate behavior, including aggressive behavior, in autistic children. Evidence suggests that behavioral therapy is most effective if it is started early in life, when the patient is three to four years old or younger.
Education: Autistic patients must receive education that is tailored to their specific strengths and weaknesses. According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, all children with disabilities, including autism, must receive free and appropriate education. According to the law, members of the patient's school should consult with the patient's parents or caregivers to design and write an individualized education plan. Once all parties agree with the plan, the educational program should be started. The school faculty should document the child's progress in order to ensure that the child's needs are being met.
Lifestyle: Most children with autism respond well to structured schedules or routines.
You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Educational approaches, such as applied behavioral analysis (or ABA), which has become widely accepted as an effective treatment and is backed up by scientific evidence. Educational approaches are the cornerstone for treating any form of autism, and they include teaching autistic kids, many hours per week, the social, academic, and daily living skills that most children acquire naturally; providing speech, language, and occupational therapy; and generally minimizing the kinds of behaviors that make autistic kids stand out and instilling patterns that help them fit in and function independently.
Sometimes medications help, too, by easing difficult symptoms, especially aggressive or obsessive behavior, or helping to relieve anxiety.
From The Smart Parent's Guide: Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses, and Accidents by Jennifer Trachtenberg.
Find out more about this book:The Smart Parent's Guide: Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses, and Accidents
Watch as licensed psychologist and autism specialist Dr. Ronald Leaf discusses how autism should be treated.