The purpose of the Treatments portion of the website is not to recommend specific treatment options, but rather give a general overview of the options that are available. Specific resources can be found in our Resources section.
Your child may benefit from many types of therapies depending on his/her symptoms and responses. Each child is unique and learns differently and at various rates. One treatment may benefit one child, but not the other. Even professionals differ in their opinions on what is the most beneficial for your child. Professionals do agree, however, that the earlier the intervention, the better the prognosis. Highly structured programs implemented as early as possible have been shown to give the child the best chance to reach his or her potential. As the parent, you know your child the best and will need to base your decisions from your experiences with your child with the advise of your doctor(s).
The ACU does not endorse any specific therapy. The following descriptions are for informational purposes only.
Principles of Evaluating Treatments
- Approach with hopeful skepticism. Remember the goal of any treatment should be to help the person with Autism become a functioning member of society.
- Beware of programs or technique that is touted as effective or desirable for every person with Autism.
- Beware of programs that thwart individualization and potentially result in a harmful program decisions.
- Be aware that any treatment represents one of several options for a person with Autism.
- Be aware that treatment should always depend on individual assessment information that points to it as an appropriate choice for a particular child.
- Be aware that no new treatment should be implemented until its proponents can specify assessment procedures necessary to determine whether it will be appropriate for an individual with Autism.
- Be aware that debate over use of various techniques are often reduced to superficial arguments over who is right, moral, and ethical and who is a true advocate for the children. This can lead to results that are directly opposite to those intended including impediments to maximizing programs.
- Be aware that often new treatments have not been validated scientifically.
Questions to Ask Regarding Specific Treatments
- Will the treatment result in harm to the child?
- How will failure of the treatment affect my child and family?
- Has the treatment been validated scientifically?
- Are there assessment procedures specified?
- How will the treatment be integrated into the child’s current program? (Do not become so infatuated with a given treatment that functional curriculum, vocational life and social skills are ignored.)
Strategies and Options
Many treatment approaches have been developed to address the range of social, language, sensory and behavioral difficulties. There are many different providers of these services. Researching options and providers will help you find the best fit for your family. Some options include:
- Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA)
- Floor Time
- Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
- Relationship Developmental Intervention (RDI)
- Social Stories
- Sensory Integration
- Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication of Handicapped Children (TEACCH)
- Verbal Behavior
- Other Therapy (Hippotherapy, Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Music Therapy, Art Therapy)
If your child is under age 3, he or she may be eligible for services funded by the State of Utah through a local early intervention agency.
From the age of 3 through the age of 21, your child is guaranteed a free appropriate public education supplied by your local education agency. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal mandate that guarantees this education.
Copyright 2007 Autism Society of America.
- www.feat.org – Families for Effective Autism Treatment
- www.mariposaschool.org – Look under training materials which has a VB training manual.
- www.difflearn.com – Resources for various in-home programs.
- www.dotolearn.com – Free picture cards and examples of schedules for children with ASD.
- www.watchmelearn.com – Resources for teaching social skills, etc.
- www.christinaburkaba.com – Excellent resource for ABA/VB.
- www.teacch.com – Mission statement and information.
Email Lists and Supports
Sound Advice on Autism from the American Academy of Pediatrics
The series, “Sound Advice on Autism,” produced by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), contains audio interviews with developmental and behavioral pediatricians, a pediatric neurologist, Autism researchers and other parents of children with Autism.
Identification, Evaluation & Management of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Report from the American Academy of Pediatrics
Autism spectrum disorders are not rare; many primary care pediatricians care for several children with autism spectrum disorders. Pediatricians play an important role in early recognition of autism spectrum disorders, because they usually are the first point of contact for parents. Parents are now much more aware of the early signs of autism spectrum disorders because of frequent coverage in the media; if their child demonstrates any of the published signs, they will most likely raise their concerns to their child’s pediatrician. It is important that pediatricians be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of autism spectrum disorders and have a strategy for assessing them systematically. Pediatricians also must be aware of local resources that can assist in making a definitive diagnosis of, and in managing, autism spectrum disorders. Read this report to find out more.
Management of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Report from the American Academy of Pediatrics
Pediatricians have an important role not only in early recognition and evaluation of autism spectrum disorders but also in chronic management of these disorders. The primary goals of treatment are to maximize the child’s ultimate functional independence and quality of life by minimizing the core autism spectrum disorder features, facilitating development and learning, promoting socialization, reducing maladaptive behaviors, and educating and supporting families. To assist pediatricians in educating families and guiding them toward empirically supported interventions for their children, this report reviews the educational strategies and associated therapies that are the primary treatments for children with autism spectrum disorders. Optimization of healthcare is likely to have a positive effect on the habilitative progress, functional outcome, and quality of life; therefore, important issues, such as management of associated medical problems, pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic intervention for challenging behaviors or coexisting mental health conditions, and use of complementary and alternative medical treatments, are also addressed. Read this report to find out more.
Autism Methods Compilation Chart
This compilation chart shows a comparison and brief analysis of current interventions in Autism.
The National Autism Centers’ “A Parent’s Guide to Evidence-Based Practice and Autism” provides information and resources on treatments.
Biomedical & Diet
This link will take you to our page with more information about Biomedical and Diet options for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs).
All information provided on the ACU Web site is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute a legal contract between the ACU and any person or entity unless otherwise specified. Any views or opinions presented are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ACU. Information on the ACU website is subject to change without prior notice. Although every reasonable effort is made to present current and accurate information, the ACU makes no guarantees of any kind.