Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder is a broad range of conditions that range from a combination of poor social skills, challenges with speech and non-verbal communication as well as a pattern of repetitive behaviors that can be accompanied by mental health challenges like anxiety, depression and problems concentrating. How Autism manifests itself is unique to each individual and other symptoms of Autism include gastrointestinal problems, seizures, sleep disorders and sensory sensitivities. Because Autism is a spectrum disorder, people with Autism can be brilliant at some things and have severe challenges with others.
Current Treatments for Autism can very depending on how Autism manifests itself in each individual. Let’s take a look at the top 6 most commonly used treatments:
- Occupational Therapy
This therapy involves helping children with everyday tasks like buttoning their shirts or how to hold a knife and fork properly. Treatment is tailored to each individual.
- Speech Therapy
This treatment helps with speech, communicating and interacting with others and also includes non-verbal communication.
- Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA)
There are several different types of ABA but at it’s core, ABA uses rewards to positively reinforce behaviors and give the individual moment-by moment feedback. As is common with Autism, treatment is based on the individual
- Social Skills Classes
These can be both group or individual and as the name suggests, this therapy is intended to help individuals improve their social skills,. This therapy is conducted by a therapist.
Therapeutic Horseback Riding
As the name suggests, this involves the individual with autism riding a horse which is a form of physical therapy because the rider needs to react to the movements of the horse. It works particularly well with children and teens aged 5 to 16
Picture Exchange Communications System (PECS)
With this form of therapy children learn to trade pictures for certain items or activities. This particular treatment is suitable for children who have difficulty speaking or who have trouble understanding. Research has shown that this treatment can lead to improvements in communication but results in little to no improvements in speech.
Remember there is no “one size fits all” for Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (they both mean the same thing). Remember, Autism refers to a broad spectrum of different combination of similar behaviors and as such treatment needs to be tailored to each individual. With the proper medical care, individuals with Autism can go on to lead fruitful and meaningful lives.