What About Alternative Treatments
There are countless alternative autism treatments that people try. However, there isnt much conclusive research backing up these methods, and its unclear whether theyre effective. Some of them, such as chelation therapy, may also do more harm than good.
Still, autism is a wide-ranging condition that causes a variety of symptoms. Just because something doesnt work for one person doesnt mean it wont help another. Work closely with a doctor when looking into alternative treatments. A good doctor can help you navigate the research surrounding these treatments and avoid potentially risky methods that arent backed by science.
Potential alternative treatments requiring more conclusive research include:
- gluten-free, casein-free diet
Creating A Medication Plan
Healthcare providers usually prescribe a medication on a trial basis to see if it helps. Some medications may make symptoms worse at first or take several weeks to work. Your child’s healthcare provider may have to try different dosages or different combinations of medications to find the most effective plan.
Families, caregivers, and healthcare providers need to work together to make sure that the medication plan is safe and that all medications have some benefit.
Things to remember about medication:
- Healthcare providers and families should work together to help ensure safe use of medication.
- Not every medication helps every person with symptoms of autism.
- One person with autism might respond to medications differently than another person with autism or than people who don’t have autism.
- Some medications have serious risks involved with their use.
A Good Treatment Plan Will:
- Build on your childs interests.
- Offer a predictable schedule.
- Teach tasks as a series of simple steps.
- Actively engage your childs attention in highly structured activities.
- Provide regular reinforcement of behavior.
- Involve the parents.
Choosing autism treatments
There are many different options and approaches to ASD treatment, including behavior therapy, speech-language therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and nutritional therapy.
While you dont have to limit your child to just one treatment at a time, its unlikely youll be able to address everything at once. Instead, start by focusing on your childs most severe symptoms and pressing needs.
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Education And School Planning
At school, a plan can be made to support and structure your childs learning. A committee identifies the needs of exceptional students. When they have identified these needs, they create a plan with help from the student and their parents or guardian. This is called an individual education plan .
Support at school should include behavioural, social and academic approaches. A team of professionals usually puts the plan together based on the child’s strengths and weaknesses. It may include solutions such as:
- various therapies
- opportunities to interact with peers
Where To Start If You Suspect You Have Autism Spectrum Disorder
If you think you may have autism spectrum disorder, the best place to start is with a self-assessment test. These informal questionnaires allow you to explore your symptoms and help you prepare for a discussion with a healthcare provider.
Once youve taken a self-assessment test, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician or a mental health professional. You can also contact a local ASD center, such as your nearest Autism Speaks treatment network location. These organizations may have a consulting psychologist on staff who can help you if a formal assessment is too expensive.
You can also pursue the following alternatives if you suspect you have autism spectrum disorder:
- Contact the psychology/psychiatry department of a local university or teaching hospital.
- Ask members of an adult autism support group where they received their diagnoses.
- Request doctor recommendations from your therapist or ask them to diagnose you.
- Reach out to the governing body for psychologists and ask for the names of doctors in your area familiar with ASD.
- Obtain a diagnosis from a supervised graduate student at a local university or teaching hospital.
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Training For Parents Families And Caregivers
Parents, family members, caregivers, teachers and peers can receive training so that they can help support a person with ASD. Many of these skills are meant to help caregivers:
- learn how to deal with self-injuring behaviours
- learn how to communicate with someone living with ASD
- recognize and deal with situations that cause upset
- learn supportive routines and behaviours that bring comfort and promote success
High School Students With Autism
The teenage years can be a difficult time for those on the autism spectrum and their families. Like any teenager, they may have to deal with issues including sexuality, bullying, anxiety, depression and other emotional problems.
It can be hard to know when to start talking about puberty and how to explain some of the changes they are going through. Be as open and as honest as you can and let them know you are there for them all the time, even if they do not want to talk. Visit the Family Planning Victoria website for useful information on sexuality and people with a disability.
Some teenagers on the autism spectrum may be teased and bullied. Find more information on how to support your teenager on the autism spectrum on the Amaze website.
Approaching the time to leave school may result in a high level of anxiety for a young person on the autism spectrum and their family as they determine their next steps. There are a number of resources and supports that may be of assistance.
The Department of Education and Training’s Strengthened Pathways Planning for young people with disabilities – Parent Information provides guidance for parents on careers and transition planning for young people with disabilities. Links to relevant information, resources and services are included.
The document can be found at the Department’s website.
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Benefits Of Receiving An Adult Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis
While hearing you have ASD can be disconcerting, there are many benefits to receiving an official diagnosis. For starters, a documented diagnosis ensures you have access to all of the services and support available to you by law. These include state or federal financial assistance, vocational therapy, tutors, and low-cost mental health services, among others.
An ASD diagnosis can also help you pinpoint your unique strengths and use them to overcome your challenges. You may gain a new perspective on your relationships with other people and strengthen ties with family and friends. Sharing your diagnosis with others can also help them understand your circumstances and empathize with your struggles.
Research At The Centers For Disease Control And Prevention
Centers for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research and Epidemiology Network. CDC has established regional centers of excellence for ASD and other developmental disabilities. These centers make up the;CADDRE Network, which focus on the Study to Explore Early Development .
CDCs;;is one of the largest multi-year ASD studies in the United States. SEED research study sites are located in California, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. There are three study groups in SEED:
SEED collects in-depth information from participants to answer questions about many factors that might put children at risk for ASD, including genetic, environmental, pregnancy, and behavioral factors.
Research at the National Institutes of Health In FY 2013, the National Institutes of Health invested approximately $186 million in research on ASD. This program of research is guided in part by the objectives set out in the IACC Strategic Plan with particular research focus on:
- Improving screening and diagnosis of ASD;
- Testing and developing therapeutic treatments for the symptoms of ASD;
- Identifying potential risk factors that may be linked to the cause of ASD; and
- Developing effective supports, services and interventions for individuals with ASD and their families
Examples of autism research investments include:
Supporting State Efforts to Address Autism
What Does A Child With Autism Look Like
Seems like a strange question. But I know that there have been times when a person has met my son and then makes a comment such as, “He doesn’t seem like he has autism.” or “He doesn’t look like he has autism.”
The interesting thing is that there is no “look” to autism. Yes, some of our kids may have similar behavioral or social characteristics, but they are all very different. So this is why if someone tells me they have experience in autism, that doesn’t mean they will know or understand my child.
If you do know, watch, or teach another child with autism, it is best not to compare what you know to the child you are meeting. Also, I would refrain from telling your friend about how you think autism should “look.” Being open to learning the hallmarks of autism is important, but learning about the individuality of each child who has autism is the best approach.
What Is Being Done To Cure Autism
Research has been moving away from finding a cure for autism to focusing on early diagnosis.Len Abbeduto is an autism researcher, psychologist, and director of the MIND Institute. In an interview with NBC News, he said that autism is complex with many manifestations. He thinks searching for a single cure is the wrong approach . He explained that about 80 percent of autism cases are genetic. There is no one autism gene though. There is likely a combination of more than 100-1,000 genes and environmental factors at play.;
In recent years, the focus has shifted to treatment and therapies. Most children receive their diagnosis in late toddlerhood, around three-four years old. Specialized diagnosticians can now diagnose infants as young as six months old. Diagnosing children younger means receiving treatment younger. Doctors now aim to start treatments when childrens brains display the greatest plasticity. This is usually by age three.
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Case Examples Of Autism And Aspergers
- Client referrals
Behavioural Therapies And Supports
Behavioural therapies and supports for autistic children use specialised, structured techniques to help children learn new behaviours and skills. These therapies and supports are generally referred to as Applied Behaviour Analysis approaches.
Many of these therapies and supports use specialised behaviour techniques along with other strategies. And different therapies and supports use the techniques in different ways. For example, Discrete Trial Training works on childrens behaviour by breaking behaviour skills down into steps. It looks different from the Early Start Denver Model, which builds behaviour techniques into childrens play.
Research has shown that ABA approaches work. But theres also some controversy about ABA. Some members of the autism community feel that ABA sometimes aims to stop behaviours like flapping or stimming, which can be calming or enjoyable for autistic people.
Examples of behavioural therapies and supports include:
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About Therapies And Supports For Autistic Children
There are many therapies and supports for autistic children.
These therapies and supports work on different areas of difficulty. They range from behavioural and developmental therapies and supports to medical and alternative therapies. They also include combined approaches.
Below is a summary of the main types of therapies and supports for autistic children. This is just one way to categorise therapies and supports, and youll find that some therapies and supports are based on others or combine others.
In each category below, we also look at what the research says about whether these therapies and supports work. Behavioural and developmental therapies and supports have the best outcomes for most autistic children. And all therapies and supports work best with family input.
The therapies and supports you choose will depend on whats right for your child. Ideally, professionals will work with you to find an approach that helps your child develop, thrive and reach their goals and that also suits your familys circumstances.
National Professional Development Center On Autism Spectrum Disorders
The National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorder has worked to develop free professional resources for teachers, therapists, and technical assistance providers who work with individuals with ASD. Resources include detailed information on how to plan, implement, and monitor specific evidence-based practices.
Actions For This Page
- The word autism refers to autism spectrum disorder , including Asperger syndrome.
- ASD can affect a persons ability to interact with the world around them and lead to repetitive behaviours or a narrow range of interests and activities.
- It can be hard to understand why people on the autism spectrum behave the way they do. Try to remember that the world can be a very confusing place for them and the best way to help is to be supportive and caring.
- Asperger Syndrome is now classified under the single umbrella term, ASD.
- There is no cure for ASD, but by getting advice early and working with your healthcare professional, you can give your child the best possible chance of fulfilling their potential
- Amaze is funded to help individuals on the autism spectrum, their families and carers who need information about Autism Spectrum Disorder and to understand what supports are available in Victoria. The Amaze InfoLine operates 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday 1300 308 699
How Do I Make Sense Of All The Different Treatments
Treatments for ASD can be grouped into different categories . Each category focuses on a type of treatment.
Because children with ASD may show different symptoms, a family will need to choose from the available treatments, therapies, and programs based on their childs needs. The treatment plan for your child may have some treatments from each of these categories.
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Rehabilitation Act Of 1973
This national law requires entities that receive federal funding to make their programs accessible for people with disabilities. These include public colleges and universities, employers, and any organization that receives government assistance. Section 504 also requires public school districts to provide free and appropriate education for students with disabilities.
Other Adult Autism Spectrum Disorder Treatment Options
Applied behavior analysis is only one of the treatment routes available to people with ASD. You can also pursue one of the treatment options below:
- Ongoing counseling with a licensed mental health professional
- Vocational rehabilitation for job-related problems
- Group therapy with a trained social worker
- Taking prescription medications for co-occurring mental health issues
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Complementary And Alternative Medicine Treatments
To relieve the symptoms of ASD, some parents and healthcare professionals use treatments that are outside of what is typically recommended by pediatricians. These treatments are known as complementary and alternative medicine treatments. CAM treatments refer to products or services that are used in addition to or instead of traditional medicine. They might include special diets, dietary supplementsexternal icon, chelation , biologicals , or mind-body medicine .
Many of these treatments have not been studied for effectiveness; moreover, a review of studies on chelation found some evidence of harm and no evidence to indicate it is effective in treating children with ASD . Current research shows that as many as one-third of parents of children with ASD may have tried CAM treatments, and up to 10% may be using a potentially dangerous treatment . Before starting such a treatment, talk to your childs doctor.
To learn more about CAM therapies for ASD, go to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicines Autismexternal icon webpage. The FDA has information about potentially dangerous treatments hereexternal icon.
Resources For Families Autism
Autism support centers
- Providing support, information, referral, family activities and events, educational and therapeutic programs for children and adults with autism, as well as siblings, school vacation events, and community partnerships to area businesses.
- Autism Insurance Resource CenterA resource for consumers, providers, clinicians, employers, and educators on issues related to medical insurance for autism treatment.
- List of Local Health Centers that can Assist with MA health Applications
Autism housing pathways
Autism Housing Pathways was created to provide information, support and resources for families who seek to create secure, supported housing for their adult children with disabilities. Autism Housing Pathways seeks to foster education and awareness and disseminate information about the creation of self-directed housing for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities; to promote and support the formation and maintenance of such housing; and to assist families in creating self-directed housing for their adult children that supports their residential, recreational and community needs.
Additional resources for families
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The Importance Of Support
Parents of a child with ASD must have a good support system in place. This will help your child cope with the unique aspects of his or her disorder. It will also help you learn how to manage your feelings when faced with the challenges of raising a child with ASD. Pay special attention to the needs of other children in the family. Sometimes siblings’ needs get lost when so much attention is needed by the child with ASD. Spend one-to-one time with your other children. Look for sibling support groups that can provide a safe place for them to talk and share their feelings and fears.
Part of this support will come from the healthcare team that is treating your child and educating you as a parent. There is no cure for ASD. But most children can lead a happy, productive life by taking part in therapy. Therapy addresses the 3 main symptoms of the disorder:
Poor communication skills
Experts agree that the earlier a child starts therapy, the better the outcome often is.