Autism - Treatment Options
In an updated article on autism, the Autism Society of America, tells us that, finding that your child has an autism spectrum disorder can be an overwhelming experience. For some, the diagnosis may come as a complete surprise; others may have had suspicions and tried for months or years to get an accurate diagnosis. A diagnosis brings a variety of questions about how to proceed.
A generation ago, many people with autism were placed in institutions. Professionals were less educated about autism than they are today and specific services and supports were largely non-existent. Today the picture is much clearer. With appropriate services and supports, training, and information, children on the autism spectrum will grow, learn and flourish, even if at a different developmental rate than others.
They also mention that there are no cures for autism, but there are treatment and education approaches that may reduce some of the challenges associated with the condition. Intervention may help to lessen disruptive behaviors, and education can teach self-help skills that allow for greater independence. But just as there is no one symptom or behavior that identifies individuals with ASD, there is no single treatment that will be effective for all people on the spectrum.
Individuals can learn to function within the confines of ASD and use the positive aspects of their condition to their benefit, but treatment must begin as early as possible and be tailored to the child's unique strengths, weaknesses and needs.
Throughout the history of the ASA, parents and professionals have been confused by conflicting messages regarding what are and what are not appropriate treatment approaches for children and adults on the autism spectrum.
The purpose is to provide a general overview of a variety of available approaches, not specific treatment recommendations. The word "treatment" is used in a very limited sense. Typically used for children under 3, the approaches described here may be included in an educational program for older children also.
They continue to say, "Is critical to match a child's potential and specific needs with treatments or strategies that are likely to be effective in moving him/her closer to established goals and greatest potential. The ASA does not select one item from a list of available treatments. A search for appropriate treatment must be paired with the knowledge that all treatment approaches are not equal; what works for one will not work for all, and other options do not have to be excluded. Treatment plans should be chosen based on evaluations of strengths and weaknesses observed in the child."
Source: www.autism-society.org, Last updated: 23 January 2008
Author: Autism Society of America