Medicines For Treating Autism’s Core Symptoms
Please use independent judgment and request references when considering any resource associated with diagnosis or treatment of autism or its associated medical conditions. The following information is solely for educational purposes, not medical advice. It is not a substitute for care by trained medical providers. Autism Speaks is not engaged in the practice of health care or the provision of health care advice or services. For specific advice about care and treatment, please consult your physician.
Medicines for treating autism are most effective when used in conjunction with behavioral therapies. Ideally, medicines are a complement to other treatment strategies.
Medicines for treating the three core symptoms of autism communication difficulties, social challenges and repetitive behavior have long represented a huge area of unmet need. Unfortunately, few drugs on the market today effectively relieve these symptoms and none of the options most often prescribed by practitioners work well for every individual.
In fact, while the Food and Drug Administration has approved two drugs for treating irritability associated with the autism , it has yet to approve a medicine for treating autisms three core characteristics. Nonetheless, medicines such as risperidone and aripiprazole can be beneficial in ways that can ease these core symptoms, because relieving irritability often improves sociability while reducing tantrums, aggressive outbursts and self-injurious behaviors.
Tolerance For Delay Of Reinforcement
When introducing communication skills, it is important to honor an individuals request immediately and consistently. Otherwise, the challenging behavior will continue to be more effective than the replacement strategy. Delayed reinforcement begins after the individual develops trust in the effectiveness of the replacement behavior.
For example, if a child asks for a break, ask them to finish one minute of a given task first. Then, slowly build on this by gradually increasing the waiting time. Timers and visual supports are helpful tools for waiting.
First Things First: What Is Behind The Diagnosis Of Autism
Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder , is diagnosed and defined solely on the basis of the presence of surface symptoms. As autism is not a biological thing in itself, it therefore cannot be cured, since a behavioural label is not a disease.
It is always worth remembering that there is nothing else to an autism diagnosis, or autism itself, apart from the surface symptoms.
This begs the question: what is causing the symptoms that earn one a label of autism in each individual case? And more importantly, can those causative factors, once identified, be addressed on a case by case basis?
For example, the more the persons sensory processing is disturbed, or the more discord and delay there is in the way that their brain controls their motor function, the more severe their autism symptoms will appear.
If one is able to improve the way that the brain processes and reacts to the incoming sensory information, it is logical to expect that the person will become able to make sense of the world in a more confident and anxiety-free manner, and that some improvements in social interaction, interests and behaviours will follow. In other words, their core autism symptoms would potentially diminish.
If the persons control of their motor function can be improved, it is logical to expect also that improvements in speech will follow. In other words, the apparent symptoms of autism, as it is currently defined, could potentially be reduced.
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How To Spot Fake Treatments
There are some warning signs that may suggest a treatment is fake:
- it claims to “cure” or help people “recover from” autism
- it claims to work in most people and have quick results
- personal “stories” are used to claim it works, rather than medical evidence
- words like “miracle”, “faith” and “trust” are used
- it can be done by anyone without any training or qualifications
- it costs a lot of money
Are Siblings At Greater Risk For Autism Spectrum Disorder
The truth is that genetics do play a role in autism. When one child is diagnosed with ASD, the next child to come along has about a 20% greater risk of developing autism than normal. When the first two children in a family have both been diagnosed with ASD, the third child has about a 32% greater risk of developing ASD.
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Types Of Autism Treatment Available
When it comes to early autism treatment options, there are a dizzying variety of therapies and approaches. Some autism therapies focus on reducing problematic behaviors and building communication and social skills, while others deal with sensory integration problems, motor skills, emotional issues, and food sensitivities.
With so many choices, it is extremely important to do your research, talk to autism treatment experts, and ask questions. But keep in mind that you dont have to choose just one type of therapy. The goal of autism treatment should be to treat your childs unique array of symptoms and needs. This often requires a combined treatment approach that incorporates several different types of therapy.
Common autism treatments include behavior therapy, speech-language therapy, play-based therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and nutritional therapy. But keep in mind that the routine is important and the program should be designed in a way that can be sustained. You should think about what skills and behaviors are most essential and treat those first. It may not be possible to tackle everything at once.
When Should I See My Doctor
Itâs important to seek help if you are concerned you or your child has autism. Early intervention offers the best outcomes, no matter what type of autism a child has.
There may be different signs of autism in different ages.
In the first year, a baby with autism might not be interested in other people and may not make eye contact with their parents. They may not smile or gesture like other babies.
As toddlers, children with autism might not respond to their name, or might focus on activities like lining up toys. They may not be interested in playing with other children or might speak in a monotone way.
Older children with autism might have difficulties in social situations, following instructions or making friends.
Sometimes people are not diagnosed with autism until they are adults. They may spend their lives feeling like they dont quite fit in. They may have difficulties with relationships, work and social situations. They may also have mental health conditions like anxiety or depression.
Autism Awareness Australia provides information about signs of autism in people at different ages.
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Diagnosis And Levels Of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Medical professionals can carry out screening for autism in the first few years of a childs life.
Doctors diagnose ASD by assessing the differences and signs listed above, interacting with the child or observing interactions between the child and parent or caregiver, and asking parents and caregivers questions.
There were previously four different types of autism. However, the DSM5 now lists three different levels of ASD, which doctors determine according to the amount of support an individual requires.
However, it is important to note that many mental health professionals do not find these levels helpful, instead preferring to diagnose people with autism based on the spectrum as a whole rather than classifying them using levels.
The three levels of ASD are:
Can Diet And Supplements Play A Role In The Treatment Of Autism
A number of dietary supplements are often given to persons with autism. Examples of such interventions include omega-3 fatty acids. While a significant percentage of people with autism are given dietary supplements as part of treatment, there is insufficient research to determine whether or not such interventions are helpful or harmful.
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Complementary Alternative Medicine & Over
Some research has been done into alternative treatment options outside of psychotherapy and medications for ASD. There are several alternative medications typically used for ASD however, theres no research to show that any of these treatments are effective and, in certain cases, may even be considered harmful.
Have You Ever Thought About How To Identify The Autism Patient
Don’t worry, I’ll tell you! Autistic person may have the following symptoms:-
The severity of symptoms gradually increases from mild to severe. Synaptic dysfunction can be one of the causes. As per the research done by columbia university in 2014, it is concluded that THE AUTISTIC CHILDREN DID NOT HAVE A LOSS OF BRAIN SYNAPSES!!! THEY HAVE TOO MANY BRAIN SYNAPSES!!!
Let’s put some light on this Phrase. What does this mean?
This means there is overstimulation of lots of brain synapses at one time, so the autistic brain may be overloaded and unable to react or give a reaction at that particular time. For example, its difficult to understand 10 people who are talking to you at the same time.
At the time of birth, a person has all the brain cells they need in their entire life. But at that time there were no synapses. In the first year of life, there are trillions of synaptic connections but at the age of 2 the brain ends up making connections. So After 2 years of age, all the massive unwanted synaptic connections started to die, which is medically known as synaptic pruning. 50% of the synaptic connections are pruned when a person reaches 20 years of age. This is the way a normal brain protects itself from overstimulation.
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Treatment And Education Of Autistic And Related Communication Handicapped Children
The TEACCH model is used to help children with autism achieve positive results with their social and maladaptive behaviors. It uses an environment that is structured and organized at all times. In addition, activities are predictably sequenced and visually organized to enhance the environment for the child. Children proceed to practice activities and skills in a specific fashion. Outcomes are more positive when the parents are taught to use a similar method at home.
Autism Spectrum Disorder And Current Treatment Practices
The reconceptualization of autism changed the landscape of autism treatment in two important ways. First, the idea that autism is present from birth and thus in part a biological condition paved the way for psychopharmacological interventions, and second, autism is a social and emotional disorder distinct from other mental illnesses and should be treated as such.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that autism spectrum disorders occur in approximately 1 out of every 68 children, and is more prevalent in boys than girls. Although the most obvious symptoms of autism typically appear between 2 and 3 years of age, autism can be diagnosed as early as 18 months in children. Unfortunately, however, the majority of children are not diagnosed until age four.
Early diagnosis and intervention for children with autism is critical and greatly improves outcomes of the disorder. The CDC recommends regular screenings of young children for signs of autism and parents are encouraged to monitor early signs and symptoms and bring any concerns to the attention of the pediatrician.
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What Causes Autism Spectrum Disorders
The exact cause of autism spectrum disorders is unknown at this time, but there appears to be a genetic factor involved in the development of autism-related disorder. Children, whose brother, sister and/or parent has an autism spectrum disorder is at greater risk for one of these disorders. Medical disorders such as fragile X syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, Down syndrome and other chromosomal disorders have been linked to autism spectrum disorders. Poor parenting skills do not appear to play a role in the development of this condition.
Several students who have been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome produced a graphic illustration of the biology behind autism spectrum disorders. Check this link to get a better idea of autism spectrum disorders .
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Other Terminology You May Have Heard For Types Of Autism
Terms like mild or high functioning arent official diagnoses. Some people find these terms useful, but many in the autistic community havent found them to be helpful or accurate, largely due to the range of abilities that can be present in an autistic person.
You may also have heard about three levels of autism, with level 1 being the mildest and level 3 the most severe.
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Social Communication / Interaction Behaviors May Include:
- Making little or inconsistent eye contact
- Tending not to look at or listen to people
- Rarely sharing enjoyment of objects or activities by pointing or showing things to others
- Failing to, or being slow to, respond to someone calling their name or to other verbal attempts to gain attention
- Having difficulties with the back and forth of conversation
- Often talking at length about a favorite subject without noticing that others are not interested or without giving others a chance to respond
- Having facial expressions, movements, and gestures that do not match what is being said
- Having an unusual tone of voice that may sound sing-song or flat and robot-like
- Having trouble understanding another persons point of view or being unable to predict or understand other peoples actions
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The Search For Treatments And Cures For Autism On Genes And Faux Controversies
The verb to cure simply means to relieve one of the symptoms of a disease or condition to heal, to recover, to restore to good health. There have been a number of unproven and unhelpful assumptions about autism that have made associating the word cure-or even treatments-with autism unnecessarily controversial.
One such assumption is that symptoms of autism are just a personality trait or a natural variation in functioning. This claim is not supported by research, economic and social data, or lived experiences, which show that autism is a seriously disabling condition with profound negative consequences on ones quality of life and long term outcomes .
Autism and autism-related behaviours also have a profound impact on the lives of carers and family members . Societal and economic burden of autism is debilitating and exceeds the economic burden of cancer, stroke, and heart disease combined .
There are also ungrounded assertions that if the causes are genetic, or where autism is present at birth, researchers should not even investigate treatments for underlying causes in order improve the functioning and reduce the disabling symptoms of autism. This is an absurd argument in the light of the fact that scientists and clinicians are actively treating, or researching and developing future cures, for many congenital and genetic disorders, including those with high prevalence of autism that were mentioned in the previous section.
Could The Gut Hold Clues
Most autism symptoms are behavioral. People speak or act differently than their peers. But many people with autism have gastrointestinal symptoms, including constipation or chronic diarrhea. That led some researchers to examine the gut’s role in ASD development.
In a 2019 study, researchers performed fecal transplants on people with autism. That involves:
- Samples. Healthy people provide stool for the research team.
- Preparation. The samples are prepared in a laboratory, so they’re safe to use.
- Injection. Doctors place the samples inside the intestines of people with autism.
Fecal transplants move bacteria from one person’s body to another, and in theory, movement like this changes the way the brain works and the gut feels.
Two years after the transplants, researchers spotted a 45% reduction in core ASD symptoms. That suggests the therapy both works and persists.
But there are problems with this study, including:
- Sample size. Only 18 people were included.
- Diet changes. Some people in the study ate differently at follow-up than they did when they started in the study.
- Observation. Researchers can’t say why the treatment works. They only know that people seemed to get better as they observed them.
Other researchers are using mice to understand the link between autism and the gut. They take bacteria from humans, apply it to mice, and watch how the mice react. These studies are small, and the results are slightly controversial.
Different Types Of Autism
No two people with autism have the same symptoms and behavior. And because there are so many variables involved in autism diagnosis, the way each person experiences and exhibits autism can be very different.
There are varying diagnoses within the category of autism, and under the umbrella of high functioning autism subtypes include aspergers syndrome, pathological demand avoidance, Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified also known as atypical autism. Sometimes doctors will indicate a child has mild or severe autism or even mention Broad Autism Phenotype.
For the purpose of this article, we will focus on defining what high functioning autism is, and how it is expressed.
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When Can We Expect An Autism Cure
If cures were available, families wouldn’t search social media for DIY solutions. Unfortunately, it’s not clear when an autism cure, verified by medical experts, will become clear.
When researchers kick off studies, they disclose when the work will be done. Often, they miss deadlines. Experts say just 20% of autism studies have on-time results published.
It’s hard to wait for answers to autism questions. For now, that’s exactly what we must do. Invest in therapies proven to help, like applied behavior analysis . Support your loved one as best you can. And hope that the cure we’re looking for emerges soon.
What Causes Autism Spectrum Disorder
There is no clear-cut cause of ASD. Some causes that are supported by research include genetic and some environmental factors. Specific genetic causes can only be identified in 10% to 20% of cases. These cases include specific genetic syndromes associated with ASD and rare changes in the genetic code.
Risk factors include older parental age, low birth weight, prematurity and maternal use of valproic acid or thalidomide during pregnancy, among others. This field of study is an active one for reasearch.
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