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Treatment Of Autism Spectrum Disorders

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Instruments And Diagnostic Tools

Treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder

More than 20 screening and diagnostic tools for ASD have been developed over the last two decades . The aim of screening tools is to identify individuals who are in need for further diagnostic assessment and evaluation. In the next section, we briefly summarize the most commonly used instruments used in childhood and adolescence , and in adulthood .

A. Children

In supplementary table 4, we provide a list of the most frequently used screening instruments for children who may have ASD. Supplementary table 5 summarises the structured diagnostic instruments for children who may have ASD based on a screening instrument or other information. The structured instruments vary from observational measures to caregiver interviews ) .

B. Adults

In supplementary table 6, we summarize the most common screening instruments for ASD in adults. Diagnostic tools for adults are summarized in supplementary table 5. The most robust observational measure for ASD diagnosis in adulthood is the ADOS . However, it has limitations, including its relatively low sensitivity when used to diagnose higher functioning adults with ASD and low specificity in individuals with severe intellectual disability . It also may not fully capture repetitive behaviours and/or intense preoccupations

What Are The Signs Of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Signs of ASD range from mild to severely disabling, and every person is different. The following signs are considered to be red flags that indicate your young child may be at risk for autism. If your child shows any of the following signs, please get in touch with your childs healthcare provider to discuss a referral for an autism evaluation.

The signs include the following:

  • Your child doesnt respond to their name being called at all or responds inconsistently.
  • Your child doesnt smile widely or make warm, joyful expressions by the age of 6 months.
  • Your child doesnt engage in smiling, making sounds and making faces with you or other people by the age of 9 months.
  • Your child doesnt babble by 12 months.
  • No back-and-forth gestures such as showing, pointing, reaching or waving by 12 months.
  • No words by 16 months.
  • No meaningful, two-word phrases by 24 months.
  • Any loss of speech, babbling or social skills at any age.

How Is Autism Spectrum Disorder Treated

ASD is most often a life-long condition. Both children and adults with autism benefit from behavioral interventions or therapies that can teach new skills to address the core deficits of autism and to reduce the core symptoms. Every child and adult with autism is unique. For this reason, the treatment plan is individualized to meet specific needs. It is best to begin interventions as soon as possible, so the benefits of therapy can continue on throughout the course of life.

Many people with ASD often have additional medical conditions, such as gastrointestinal and feeding issues, seizures and sleep disturbances. Treatment can involve behavioral therapy, medications or both.

Early intensive behavioral treatments involves the entire family and possibly a team of professionals. As your child ages and develops, treatment may be modified to cater to their specific needs.

During adolescence, children benefit from transition services that promote skills of independence essential in adulthood. The focus at that point is on employment opportunities and job skill training.

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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.

Recommendations For Assessment Of Asd

Association of adverse childhood experiences and precuneus volume with ...

In the UK, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence provides evidence-based guidelines regarding the assessment and management of a variety of physical and mental conditions, including the care of adults with ASD.126 Although developed for the UK, these first recommendations can be adapted for international use and provide a benchmark of appropriate care for newly developing adult ASD services.

For example, NICE recommends that adults referred for assessment of ASD should have a comprehensive, multidisciplinary assessment by trained professionals, which includes diagnosis , needs assessment, risks, and feedback to the individual. Where possible, a collateral neurodevelopmental history should be obtained from parents/carers who have known the individual well since early childhood.

The NICE guidelines also include a range of recommendations for adult service provisions, including care planning, risk assessment , challenging behavior, health passports, crisis plans, second opinions, and meeting social and educational needs.

As with any condition where multiple etiologies and/or comorbid difficulties are possible, an adequate assessment of ASD should include a full medical history, physical examination, and consideration of known genetic associations with ASD, such as 22q11.2 deletion syndrome,134 fragile X syndrome, and tuberous sclerosis. Additional medical investigations and liason with appropriate physicians are recommended where appropriate .

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What Is A Cagr Of Autism Spectrum Disorder Treatment Market Autism Spectrum Disorder Treatment Market Value In 2028 With Competition Analysis Data Of Top Key Players

The MarketWatch News Department was not involved in the creation of this content.

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Restricted Or Repetitive Patterns Of Behavior Or Activities

In addition to the communication and social issues mentioned above, autism also includes symptoms related to body movements and behaviors.

These can include:

  • repetitive movements, like rocking, flapping their arms, spinning, or running back and forth
  • lining objects, like toys, up in strict order and getting upset when that order is disturbed
  • attachment to strict routines, like those around bedtime or getting to school
  • repeating words or phrases they hear someone say over and over again
  • getting upset over minor changes
  • focusing intently on parts of objects, like the wheel of a toy truck or the hair of a doll
  • unusual reactions to sensory input, like sounds, smells, and tastes
  • obsessive interests
  • exceptional abilities, like musical talent or memory capabilities

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Follow Through With Treatments At Home

In some cases, a therapist will guide you through activities that you and your child can complete at home. For example, you might be able to apply play-based activities from PRT and ESDM at home. This is important for several reasons:

  • It gives you more time to interact with and learn more about your child.
  • Home treatments can also help build on skills learned during clinic visits.
  • They can help empower you as a parent.
  • How Is Asd Diagnosed

    Treatment for Mild Autism Spectrum Disorder | No. 3024

    If your doctor thinks you have ASD, they will refer you to a specialist to confirm the diagnosis. This may be a paediatrician, a psychiatrist or a psychologist.

    The specialist uses a set of standard tests to make a diagnosis.

    You must have lasting difficulties in social communication and social interaction in multiple situations to be diagnosed with ASD. You must also have restricted interests and activities and repetitive patterns of behaviour. These symptoms must have been evident from early life, and must significantly affect your life.

    A diagnosis of ASD will also include a classification based on the level of support the person requires. The 3 levels are:

    • level 1: people requiring support
    • level 2: people requiring substantial support
    • level 3: people more severely affected and requiring very substantial support

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    Treatment Considerations: Asha’s Position

    Several treatment options and approaches lack scientific evidence of validity and are not endorsed by ASHA. They are Auditory Integration Training , Facilitated Communication , and Rapid Prompting Method . Below are brief descriptions of these treatments, along with ASHA’s position on each. Click on the hyperlinks provided to read ASHA’s full position statements.

    Auditory Integration Training

    Auditory Integration Training is a type of sensory integration treatment that involves exercising the middle ear muscles and auditory nervous system to treat a variety of auditory and nonauditory disorders, including auditory processing problems, dyslexia, learning disabilities, attention-deficit disorders, and ASD. The treatment typically involves listening to specially filtered and modulated music for two 30-minute sessions per day for 10 consecutive days. The objective is to reduce distortions in hearing and hypersensitivity to specific frequencies so that the individual will be able to perceive soundsâincluding speechâin a normal fashion.

    According to ASHA’s position statement titled, Auditory Integration Training, “The 2002 ASHA Work Group on AIT, after reviewing empirical research in the area to date, concludes that AIT has not met scientific standards for efficacy that would justify its practice by audiologists and speech-language pathologists” .

    Facilitated Communication

    Rapid Prompting Method

    The Challenge Of Biological Heterogeneity

    On top of these difficulties in designing clinical trials, another challenge is the genetic and neurobiological heterogeneity seen in ASD, which means that it is unlikely that any single drug will be effective for all patients. It is clear we need better understanding of the neurobiology underlying ASD to identify key molecular and system pathways that are disrupted, and the determinants of heterogeneity. This will enable the development of treatments that target key components of the neurobiology. Coupled with this we need biomarkers to identify sub-types that will respond to particular approaches . A considerable amount of work is currently on-going to develop imaging, genetic, proteomic and other biomarkers for this purpose . To date there is no independently validated biomarker for stratification of patients and trials have rarely attempted to include biomarkers that would enable stratification. Thus, it is largely unknown if there are sub-groups that showed better or worse response in past trials.

    Consensus recommendations for future research directions

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    What Is The Best Treatment For Autism

    There are many treatments for autism, but there is no cure. There is no single treatment that can alleviate the core symptoms of autism either. However, there are therapies and medications that can have a significant positive impact on children and adults on the autism spectrumas well as therapies and medications that can actually cause harm.

    For most families, choosing the best therapies is a process of trial and error, with final decisions depending on a variety of factors such as availability, cost, and the abilities, challenges, and interests of the person on the autism spectrum.

    In general, children with autism are best served by therapies that:

    • Start as early as possible
    • Are provided intensively
    • Are based on research
    • Have clear goals and milestones
    • Are provided by a qualified therapist who connects well with the child
    • Engage a child in a positive way
    • Address the core symptoms of autism: social skills, sensory dysfunction, emotional regulation, verbal and non-verbal communication, physical challenges, play skills, attentional issues, mood issues, or focus

    There are plenty of options available, and many therapies that can work well for any given child.

    What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Autism Spectrum Disorder

    Autism center abstract concept vector illustration. Learning disability ...

    No two kids with ASD have the same signs and symptoms. Many things can play a role, such as language delays, thinking and learning problems and behavioral challenges. For this reason, autism is described as a spectrum.

    Children with ASD often have problems with:

    • Body language and eye contact.
    • Social interactions.

    In toddlers, parents might notice the following behaviors from their child:

    • Delayed speech.
    • Using only a few gestures .
    • Not responding when someone calls their name.
    • Avoiding eye contact.
    • Not sharing enjoyment or interests with others.
    • Unusual ways of moving the hands, fingers, or whole body.
    • Being very focused or attached to unusual objects.
    • Little to no imitating of others or pretending.
    • Unusual sensory interests.
    • Rituals such as repeating things over and over or lining up objects.

    Milder symptoms may not be recognized until a child is older and has problems with:

    • Forming friendships.
    • Knowing how to act in different social situations.
    • Unusual, intense interests in specific topics or activities.

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    Digestive Problems In Asd

    Some people with autism also have digestive problems, such as constipation, abdominal pain, or vomiting. Some research7 suggests that digestive problems occur more often in people with autism than in people without autism, but research is still being done on this topic.5,7 Working with a health care provider can help ensure that a diet does not make digestive problems worse.

    NICHD and other agencies and organizations will continue research to learn more about how children with autism grow and if they have specific nutritional needs.

    Complementary And Alternative Treatments

    Some individuals and parents use treatments that do not fit into any of the other categories. These treatments are known as Complementary and Alternative treatments. Complementary and alternative treatments are often used to supplement more traditional approaches. They might include special diets, herbal supplements, chiropractic care, animal therapy, arts therapy, mindfulness, or relaxation therapies. Individuals and families should always talk to their doctor before starting a complementary and alternative treatment.

    There may be other treatments available for individuals with ASD. Talk to a doctor or healthcare provider to learn more.

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    Try Multiple Treatments At The Same Time

    Not every treatment you try will prove effective for your child. However, you can try multiple treatments at once and look for signs of improvement. Each treatment you rule out gets you one step closer to determining what works. Treatments such as nutritional therapy and speech-language therapy can overlap without causing harm.

    Gender Dysphoria And Autism Spectrum Disorder

    rTMS for Autism Spectrum Disorder

    Multiple studies show that individuals with ASD were significantly more likely to report experiencing gender-dysphoric symptoms than were typically developing individuals.

    Why could gender dysphoria be more prevalent in ASD?

  • Hormonal factors Foetal testosterone strongly contributes to sexually dimorphic cognition and behavior
  • Elevated levels of prenatal testosterone might predispose the male fetus to homosexuality
  • The relationship between the anti-Mullerian Hormone and ASD, where lower levels of AMH have been associated with ASD symptoms in males. It is believed to play a role in the masculinization of, or the defeminization of the male fetus.
  • These have a huge potential for future research and diagnostic potential.

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    Treatment Of Anxiety And Ocd In Children With Asd

    Although pharmacological treatment of anxiety disorders has not been studied specifically in ASD, symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety have been investigated in a number of trials.

    Risperidone: A medium size trial in participants with ASD and high levels of irritability at two dose ranges found improvement in OCD symptoms only in the high dose group . Similarly, a large study reported significant, albeit modest, improvements in OCD symptoms after risperidone treatment at 2mg/day .

    In addition to improving symptoms of OCD, there is also evidence that risperidone may be effective at treating general symptoms of anxiety in ASD too. A medium size trial of risperidone in participants with ASD and high levels of irritability reported significant improvement relative to placebo on the insecure/anxious scale of the Nisonger Child Behavior Rating Form . However, it should be noted that a 16-week open-label study of 26 ASD child responders to risperidone reported increased anxiety in the mild-moderate range as a side-effect of treatment .

    Clomipramine: One small study that investigated clomipramine in children with ASD reported a significant improvement in OCD symptoms . However, cardiovascular side effects of clomipramine can be significant, and reports of treatment-emergent seizures have been noted .

    SSRIs: Two large studies have reported no effect of SSRIs on obsessive-compulsive symptoms . Neither drug was effective at reducing symptoms of OCD .

    Treatment Of Tic And Tourettes Syndrome In Asd

    No current studies are available for treating tic disorders in children or adults with ASD specifically. A recent review on tic disorders in the absence of ASD reported evidence favouring the use of the a2-adrenergic receptor agonists clonidine and guanfacine . This was based on four trials with a total n = 164. As there are no studies on treating tic disorders in ASD we would recommend that the decision on using 2A receptor agonists with ASD is made on a case by case basis.

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