Treatment Methods for Autism

Children With Developmental Challenges 3(2+1)

Lesson 25 : Pervasive Developmental Disorders -Autism

Treatment Methods for Autism

There is no cure for autism, nor is there one single treatment for autism spectrum disorders. But there are ways to help minimize the symptoms of autism and to maximize learning.

Behavioral therapy and other therapeutic options

  • Behavior management therapy helps to reinforce wanted behaviors, and reduce unwanted behaviors.
  • Speech-language therapists can help people with autism improve their ability to communicate and interact with others.
  • Occupational therapists can help people find ways to adjust tasks to match their needs and abilities.
  • Physical therapists design activities and exercise to build motor control and improve posture and balance.
  • Sensory Integration – integration and interpretation of sensory stimulation from the environment enhances cognition

Educational and/or school-based options

  • Public schools are required to provide free, appropriate public education from age 3 through high school or age 21, whichever comes first.
  • Typically, a team of people, including the parents, teachers, caregivers, school psychologists, and other child development specialists work together to design an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) to help guide the child’s school experiences.

Medication options

  • Currently there are no medications that can cure autism spectrum disorders or all of the symptoms. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved any medications specifically for the treatment of autism, but in many cases medication can treat some of the symptoms associated with autism.
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), tricyclics, psychoactive/anti-psychotics, stimulants, and anti-anxiety drugs are among the medications that a health care provider might use to treat symptoms of autism spectrum disorders.
  • Secretin—a hormone that helps digestion—is not recommended as a treatment for autism.

Diets - people with autism are more susceptible to allergies and food sensitivities than the average person. The most common food sensitivity in children with autism is to gluten and casein.
Gluten-free and casein-free diets have been reported to show some positive results in helping some children with autism, although more research needs to be done. Other vitamin and herbal remedies have not been scientifically proven, although they may have value for some kids.

Vitamin Therapy – parents have reported that they have tried B6/magnesium and/or DMG, often with good or even spectacular results.

Teaching Tips for Children with Autism

  • Use visuals
  • Avoid long strings of verbal instruction
  • Encourage development of child’s special talents
  • Use child’s fixations to motivate school work
  • Use concrete, visual methods to teach number concepts
  • Let child use a typewriter instead of writing
  • Protect child from sounds that hurt his/her ears
  • Place child near a window and avoid using fluorescent lights
  • Use weighted vests to calm nervous system
  • Interact with child while he/she is swinging or rolled in a mat
  • Don’t ask child to look and listen at the same time
  • Teach with tactile learning materials (e.g., sandpaper alphabet)
  • Use printed words and pictures on a flashcard
  • Generalize teaching
Last modified: Saturday, 14 April 2012, 7:33 AM