Monday, April 15, 2024

Which Therapy Is The Most Effective For Autistic Children

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Onset Of Autism: Early Onset Vs Regression

Effective Speech Therapy for Children with Autism

Autism develops sometime during pregnancy and the first three years of life. Some parents report that their child seemed different at birth. These children are referred to as having early-onset autism. Other parents report that their child seemed to develop normally and then had a major regression resulting in autism, usually around 12-24 months. These children are referred to as having late-onset or regressive autism. Some researchers argue that the regression is not real or the autism was simply unnoticed by the childs parents. However, many parents report that their children were completely normal until sometime between 1 and 2 years of age.

A study published in 2003, conducted by the first author, compared 53 autistic children with 48 typical peers. The parents of the early-onset autism group reported a significant delay in reaching developmental milestones, including age of crawling , sitting up , walking , and talking . Thus, there appeared to be a delay in gross motor skills as well as of talking, so many children with autism also need physical therapy. In contrast, the late-onset autism group reached developmental milestones at the same time as typical children.

When Giving Tasks Assignments Chores Etc Many Children Do Better If They Know When The Task Will End

Some examples of activities with a clear ending include puzzles, a specific number of math problems, a specific number of pages to read, a timed event , a specified way to complete a chore such as Put ten toys in the bin. or Spray the window three times and use the paper towel to wipe the spots off, a specific number of lines to write on the page for a writing assignment, etc. . See an example of an activity with a clear visual ending below:

Please cut out each word and match it to the correct picture.

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Additionally, when the task has a clear visual ending, it eliminates the need for a timer. For instance, if the child is working on a 10 piece puzzle you can let him know what comes next and no timer would be needed. This concept can be applied to anything with a clear visual ending . Whether you are using a timer or giving an activity with a clear visual ending, give a break in between for the child to do something enjoyable if he gets overwhelmed or frustrated with lengthy tasks. For example, if the child is supposed to write 20 sentences for homework, let him write ten, take a 10 minute break to do a preferred activity, and then do the next ten. .

Managing Autism Meltdowns Tantrums And Aggression

When a study is double-blind, it means the researchers also initially dont know whos received what substance, which prevents them from accidentally hinting to the patients. Finally, if a clinical trial is randomized, that means the participants are randomly assigned to one group or the other. That way, external factors will be less likely to skew the results.

Overall, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials are considered the gold standard in clinical trials. Theyre the best at accurately determining whether a medication has truly made a difference.

Back to McDougle et al.this trial examined the use of risperidone in adults with autistic disorder. By the end, the risperidone group showed improvement in aggression, self-injury, and irritability. In the years following, more trials studying risperidone for patients with autism were held. It became the first drug FDA-approved for autism in 2006. However, its only approved for children ages 5-16, not adults.


Aripiprazole has also been extensively studied for the treatment of aggression in autism. The first large-scale, placebo-controlled trial was completed in 2009. After promising results and further research, it received FDA approval for children with autism ages 6-17.

More atypical antipsychotics have been researched for aggression in people with autism. However, as of now, risperidone and aripiprazole are the only ones with a long history of high-quality trials and the FDAs sign-off.

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Autism Spectrum Disorder In Children

The Child Study Center, part of Hassenfeld Childrens Hospital at NYU Langone, offers evidence-based behavioral therapies for children with autism spectrum disorder. These treatments can help your childs doctors to monitor and alter your childs behavior.

Cognitive behavioral therapy may be a treatment option for children with autism spectrum disorder who have other mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It teaches children to alter their beliefs or behaviors to avoid negative emotions.

Cognitive behavioral therapy has two main parts. The cognitive component helps children change how they think about a situation, whereas the behavioral component helps children change how they react to a situation.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a short-term, problem-focused approach. The goal is to teach children, as well as their parents, a variety of coping skills to help the child manage difficult situations.

During cognitive behavioral therapy sessions, your child works with a specially trained therapist at the Child Study Center to learn how his or her thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are related and influence each other. In order to change unwanted feelings or problematic behaviors, the therapist teaches your child strategies to modify thoughts and to respond differently during certain situations.

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With so many different treatments available, it can be tough to figure out which approach is right for your child. Making things more complicated, you may hear different or even conflicting recommendations from parents, teachers, and doctors.

When putting together a treatment plan for your child, keep in mind that there is no single treatment that works for everyone. Each person on the autism spectrum is unique, with different strengths and weaknesses.

Your childs treatment should be tailored according to their individual needs. You know your child best, so its up to you to make sure those needs are being met. You can do that by asking yourself the following questions:

What are my childs strengths and their weaknesses?

What behaviors are causing the most problems? What important skills is my child lacking?

How does my child learn best through seeing, listening, or doing?

What does my child enjoy and how can those activities be used in treatment and to bolster learning?

Finally, keep in mind that no matter what treatment plan is chosen, your involvement is vital to success. You can help your child get the most out of treatment by working hand-in-hand with the treatment team and following through with the therapy at home.

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Other Treatments And Therapies

You may have heard or read of other types of treatments or therapies that have been used for children with ASD, such as:

  • Speech and language therapy
  • Sleep education and training

Do they help?

These other therapies have not been studied enough to know if they help or have any side effects. This does not mean that they do not work or are not safe. It just means that researchers do not have enough information to know for sure.

What else should I think about?

Because little is known about how well these treatments or therapies work, talking about them with your doctor, other health care or education professionals, your family, and other people that you trust may help you decide whether to try them.

How To Choose The Right Therapist

1. Research

It is not only important to conduct research on therapists, but to also research and familiarize yourself with the types of therapies that are offered. Common types of therapy include individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, and couples therapy.

2. Look for experience.

If you are seeing a therapist for a particular issue, look for therapists who have experience in that area.

3. Try to make an early connection.

See if the therapist you are interested in offers consultations. This provides an opportunity for you to ask questions and get a general feel of the therapist.

4. Check licensing and insurance.

All therapists are not licensed and this is okay. However, if you choose to see a licensed therapist, check their license. You can contact your state licensing board to see if your therapists license is current and if it is in good standing.

5. Never settle.

If you are not comfortable with the therapist you have chosen, do not feel bad about changing therapists. You may need to see a few before you find the therapist that is the right fit for you.

Collaborative Therapeutic Services seeks to maximize clients options by offering a variety of services, hours, and service providers with diverse specializations. We offer evening & weekend appointments. Have questions? Contact Us Here or Call 813-951-7346. Located in Tampa, Florida.

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How Does Hypnotherapy Help With Autism

Its important to realize that autism isnt a disease to be cured it is just a different way of thinking. Im sure youll see that your child has many wonderful qualities that need to be celebrated and nurtured. Seeing a hypnotherapist wont radically alter your childs personality. It certainly wont free them of their ASD, and it also wont solve all of their problems overnight.The goal is to equip the patient with the tools to overcome those negative feelings that are commonly experienced by autistic people, such as anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, behavioral issues, and phobias. This is where your hypnotherapist can help.

Good therapists will treat you as an individualyour kid is not just a set of symptoms! Adults and children on the autism spectrum are not all alike, and this is what makes hypnotherapy well suited for us. , a professional hypnotherapy specialist recommended by the National Autistic Society, explains that therapy sessions are very much tailored to individual needs, which can vary from one week to the next.

Dowling tells Autism Parenting Magazine: I find out what difficulties and challenges a person hopes to overcome, and if they want to be calmer, happier, more confident, etc. I ask them what they enjoy, what theyre good at, and who they like spending time with. By focusing on positives and existing strengths we can build on these.

Distract And Redirect Problematic Behavior Instead Of Saying Stop Or No

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For example, if the child is running in the store, remind him or show him how to walk nicely. If necessary, find something interesting to show him and call his attention to it, rather than focusing on the problematic behavior. If he is running in the hall at school, redirect him back to the line, with a short directive such as, Come back to your spot in line or remind him to walk in the hallway. For children with trouble understanding language, try demonstrating what is expected or use a gesture, rather than just giving the verbal direction.

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Stay Calm When Interacting With The Child

If you are regularly having trouble staying calm, you may benefit from talking to a friend, family member, or therapist for support. Do not take it out on your child. Yelling and threatening will not make behavior better. It may stop the behavior in the short-term, but the behaviors will occur again. You may actually make the behaviors worse because the child may start to feel anxious, scared, angry, embarrassed, or sad. Children with autism are not choosing to act in a way that is frustrating to you or anyone else. They legitimately need positive support from you to help them meet their emotional/behavioral needs.

Finally, it is important to recognize that some children on the autism spectrum have trouble generalizing expectations across situations, so the same strategies may need to be used in situations that are similar to one another.

Keep in Mind: If you are using these strategies for the first time, you may not see change as quickly as you d like. Your child/student will not be used to your new techniques and may even push harder due to the sudden change in your behavior. I know it is hard but be patient and keep implementing these strategies with consistency.

Here are some options for how you can create pictures to use with children with language difficulties:

If you work in a school, they may already have a laminator for you to use. If you are a parent, you can also try asking your childs school if they can help you laminate some pictures for an at home schedule.

What To Do Next

  • Attend one or more parent support groups, or join a parent email listserve: Parents can be a wonderful source of support and information.
  • If you dont already have one, get a proper diagnosis you will need it to secure appropriate services. Some practitioners will give you a softer diagnosis in order to spare your feelingsthis is not actually a kindness, because it will impede your ability to get the services your child needs and is entitled to.
  • Contact your states Developmental Disabilities program and apply for services. Be persistent.
  • Contact your local school district and ask about school programs. See what they have to offer.
  • Find a local physician who offers an integrated medical approach to autism. Some physicians will be open to medical and nutritional testing and medical and nutritional treatments, but others will not find one who is willing to help your child, as opposed to just monitoring the severity of your childs problems. Do not take your child to a physician who does not support you or respect your viewpoint.
  • Attend the Autism Research Institutes free online webinars and continuing education events.
  • Make sure you still find some time for your other children and spouse/significant other. Having a child with autism can result in many challenges, and you need to be prepared for the long term.
  • Continue trying to learn all you can. Good luck!

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The Effectiveness Of Play Therapy

As mentioned earlier, the effectiveness of an intervention is vital in working with autistic children. Many studies have linked play therapy to augmented efficacies and positive outcomes .

It is worth noting that playing is an integral aspect of childhood, where children express their internal features, psyche, and feelings. Playing could be compared to adult talk. While adults express themselves best through talking and explaining their issues, children reveal their issues through play. It is, therefore, imperative to use play therapy for assessment and intervention purposes for autistic children since playing is likely to expose the real anomalies and situations among them.

Moreover, play therapy allows healthy interactions between therapists and children and between caregivers and children. As such, the autistic children with abnormal behaviors are allowed to interact with therapists/caregivers and as a result, develop their social and emotional wellbeing. On the other hand, play therapy allows experts to perform their roles in accelerating child development in most natural environments . The playing environment influences and engages all aspects of childhood, comprising social, intellectual, and moral characteristics. Moreover, involving children in trained playing improves their cognitive development, especially improved thinking capabilities .

Intervention Methods For Children With Prelinguistic Communication And Emerging Language

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Goldstein , Paul & Sutherland , Rogers , and Wetherby and Woods have reviewed interventions for early communication in autism, which are generally divided into three major categories. The first are often referred to as didactic. Didactic methods are based on behaviorist theory and take advantage of behavioral technologies such as massed trials, operant conditioning, shaping, prompting, and chaining. Reinforcement is used to increase the frequency of desired target behaviors. Teaching sessions using these approaches involve high levels of adult control, repetitive periods of drill and practice, precise antecedent and consequent sequences, and a passive responder role for the client. The adult directs and controls all aspects of the interaction.

In the following sections, examples of each of these three types of intervention approaches, as applied to the prelinguistic and early language stages of communication in ASD, will be presented.

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Acknowledge Your Child Or Students For Complying With Your Requests

For instance, if your child is using a loud voice in the movie theater and you say, whisper in the theater, praise the child with a comment such as nice job whispering, or thank you for being respectful in the theater. For children who understand language well, situations like this are a good time to teach about other peoples perspectives .

Categories Of Autism Treatment

Autism treatment can encompass a lot of different methods and modalities. Autism, or autism spectrum disorder , can bring a wide range of severity and disabilities. While some people may have only mild symptoms, others may suffer from significant disability. As a result, treatment must be specific to each person.

A childs autism treatment team may include a variety of professionals, such as:

  • Developmental pediatricians.

Treatment for autism typically falls into four main categories:

  • Behavior and communication approaches: This includes ABA therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy , assistive technology, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and social skills training.
  • Medication: There are no medications designed specifically to treat autism. Medications can be effective for managing certain symptoms, but these pharmacological approaches are generally a last resort due to the potential for side effects.
  • Dietary approaches: This includes nutritional therapy.
  • Complementary and alternative medicine techniques: These techniques go beyond traditional medicine. They should be used with caution as they can potentially cause more harm than good. Never begin an alternative therapy without first discussing it with your childs doctor.

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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

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