Every person that is diagnosed with Autism is unique. Autism is known as a spectrum disorder. ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) is a general term used to encompass a variety of complex disorders of brain development. The term covers several autism disorders that are diagnosed separately, including: autistic disorder, Asperger syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder. Children can fall anywhere along the spectrum depending on the severity of their disabilities.
Children with autism exhibit difficulties with social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive behavior. Sometimes something seemingly simple, like picking out a color for a project, can overwhelm a child, thinking that this color is their choice forever. Every child is unique in the way they respond to stimuli and what ultimately becomes their go-to activity for expressing themselves. Children may find comfort in expressing themselves through music, art, crafts, and / or even practical activities.
Intervention plans should be adapted to best address his or her specific needs. Behavioral treatments and medicines are often used as forms of intervention. (Learn more about Treatment of Autism’s Core Symptoms.) Early intensive behavioral intervention involves the whole family and working with a professional team. In the early stages, therapists can come to your home to deliver services or take place in specialized centers. Families should come together when conducting early intensive behavior intervention to help the child or adult in the most effective way possible. (Learn more about Early Intervention.)
Helpful Links: Types of Autism Treatment
Starting sessions as soon as possible improves learning, communication and social skills in young children with autism. Autistic adolescents benefit more from transition services that assist in successful maturation into independent and employment opportunities in adulthood.
There are several options for interventions including:
- structured, therapeutic activities for at least 25 hours a week
- therapy guided by specific well defined learning objectives while progress is regularly regulated
- intervention focused on core areas affected by autism including: social skills, language and communication, imitation, play skills, daily living and motor skills
- opportunities to interact with other developing peers
- involving the parents in the decision making and delivery of treatment
- therapy where the child’s specific needs, values and perspectives are respected
In some cases, children will no longer meet criteria for autism, but are later diagnosed with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), an anxiety disorder or a high-functioning form of autism such as Asperger syndrome. Autism treated with therapy and intervention can drastically improve your child or young adults’ quality of life and help to bring out the unique qualities of their personality.
Join in the conversation. Call us if you’d like guidance on treatment or evaluation of your child.