Treatments of Autism
There is no cure for Autism. Early diagnosis, intervention & treatment before the age of 3 is important as research had shown that many features of Autism respond better when they are dealt with early.
Therapies and behavioural interventions are designed to remedy specific Autism symptoms which substantial improvement can be seen.
The main goals when treating children with autism are to lessen associated deficits and family distress and to increase the quality of life and functionality. No single treatment is best. The best treatment will be the one that is typically tailored to the child’s needs.
Followings are the common mainstream and alternative Autism Treatments:
Challenging behaviours such as shouting, aggression, excessive tantrums and self-injury usually have an underlying function or motive. It may also mean seeking social attention, avoiding difficult tasks, trying to generate sensory reinforcements and so on.
Therapists will then use highly structured and intensive skill-oriented training sessions to help children develop appropriate social behaviours.
Family counselling for the parents and siblings of children with Autism also often helps families to cope with the particular challenges of living with a child with an Autistic Syndrome Disorder.
Doctors may prescribe medications for the treatment of specific autism-related symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Antipsychotic medications are used to treat severe behavioural problems.
Seizures can be treated with one or more anticonvulsant drugs. Medication used to treat people with attention deficit disorder can be used effectively to help decrease impulsivity and hyperactivity.
Gluten-free and Casein-free (GFCF) diets for children with Autism is a popular choice. The hypothesis was based on the assumption that children with autism had abnormal intestinal digestive ability and permeability, leading to excessive central opioid activities, behavioural, communicative, social and cognitive difficulties.
Immune dysfunction resulting in an allergy to gluten and casein was implicated. However, these hypotheses remain unsubstantiated by rigorous scientific data.
While a dietary intervention may be helpful in some children, parents should be careful that their child’s nutritional status is carefully followed. Parents should ensure the child receives adequate calcium, vitamin D and protein intake for optimal growth.
Children with autism are known to have difficulties in the area of language and speech. Intervention for impaired communication will aim to increase joint attention and symbolic play so as to improve expressive language development.
Children with Autism (ASD) may also present with feeding difficulties and often eating a narrow range of foods that may be nutritionally inappropriate. Such difficulties can be treated with the help of a Speech therapist who also works on swallowing and feeding in addition to speech training.
45% to 95% of children with Autism present with significant unique sensory behaviours such as the excessive seeking of sensory stimuli or extreme avoidance or aversion to normal sensory stimuli.
This result increases stereotypic, repetitive and rigid behaviours which in turn impacts on the child’s ability to participate in activities of daily living and learning. Children with Autism having unusual sensory responses will benefit from occupational therapy.
Perceptual distortion, fine & gross motor coordination problems, impaired self–care and play skills can also be present in children with Autism. Occupational therapy consultation should be explored to target such issues.
Music therapy is a specific intervention using music communication and expression, including free and structured improvisation, songs and listening to music. This is based on the premise that musical interaction and improvisation may be considered a type of non-verbal and pre-verbal language training.
Animal-assisted or Pet therapy
Animal-assisted therapy refers to interventions in which animals such as dolphins, horses or dogs are employed in the support of individuals with Autism. It is also hoped that through the continuous interaction with the animals, the child will learn empathy, responsibility and love.
Listening therapy consisted of reproduced filtered music available on CDs. It aims to improve psychological and physiological conditions such as hearing, learning difficulties, voice problems and behaviour disturbance.
This content is not intended to replace any medical consultation and treatment. Information given is not for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment.
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