If your child has been diagnosed with autism, you may be feeling overwhelmed about where to turn for help. You’re not alone; there are many therapies available that can be beneficial for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Spectrum disorders are a group of developmental disabilities that can cause problems with social, emotional and communication skills.
Although children with autism spectrum will have unique strengths and challenges. Most professionals now agree that treatment should focus on improving each child’s weaknesses rather than trying to make the child fit into society as it is.
Sometimes pivotal response training (PRT) can be a good choice for children with autism. This type of treatment is one of the good options that has been shown to help children with ASD improve their communication and social skills.
Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may have trouble communicating with peers and adults, making it hard to understand their needs. According to the early start Denver model (ESDM), which is an intensive therapy that works with children from infancy to age 5. Well, in this article we will explore six types of therapy that have shown the most promise in helping children with ASD.
In This Article
What is an autism spectrum disorder?
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are complex and variable neurodevelopmental disabilities. However, all autism disorders include impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and repetitive behaviours. The symptoms of ASD begin in early childhood (typically before age 3) and last throughout a person’s lifetime.
The symptoms for a child with ASD may include delayed development of speech or no speech, limited eye contact, difficulty maintaining friendships, repetitive behaviours, unusual play with toys and objects, persistent fixation on parts of objects or ritualistic movements. As well as an early intensive behavioral intervention or discrete trial training (DTT) for children between the ages of 1 and 3 which is considered an evidence-based treatment.
Some of the causes may be a genetic predisposition, maternal illness during pregnancy, prematurity or low birth weight, and other problems during or after birth. Others suspected causes include environmental toxins (such as pesticides) and childhood infections. Until the root cause is known for certain, the early start Denver model focuses on increasing positive outcomes for children with autism.
Many parents are looking for alternative therapies to help their children. But the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children be screened for ASD starting at 18 months. The earlier a diagnosis is made, the sooner treatment can begin. As well as initiative communication, joint attention, social referencing and pretend play. Although behavioral and pharmacological interventions are believed to be most effective for autistic children.
Best types of therapy with autism
Though child positive behaviors and waiting child to complete a task with autism are a part of common therapy. As well pervasive developmental disorders are still an unmet need for most children. These applied behavioral analysis therapy, naturalistic developmental behavioral therapy and pivotal skills had shown promising results. Below we have shown you the best types of therapy that would be beneficial for a kid with autism and they are:
1. Behavioral therapy for autism
Behavioral therapy works best when children were between the ages of 1.5-3 years old. This method helps to increase language, social skills development and reduce inappropriate behaviors in children with autism. It is a very popular treatment option for autistic children which has shown significant results. Behavioral therapy for autism spectrum disorders included:
a) Applied behavior analysis ABA
It is a form of therapy that usually lasts 20-30 hours per week and it involved breaking down learning into basic skills and teaching those skills to the child with autism. This autism treatment promotes functional communication, social interaction and self-help skills in an autistic child. It may need to be used along with the other types of therapies depending upon the severity of your child’s symptoms.
b) Verbal behavior Therapy
This method helps autistic children to learn communicative skills. It is used to teach them how to understand and produce verbal behavior which will help the child communicate their needs easily. This therapy improve gross motor skills, physical skills and language skills. The appropriate educational setting along with verbal behavior therapy will help your child to improve his verbal skills.
c) Cognitive behavioral therapy
Cognitive therapy focuses on how people think, behave and relate to others. Children with spectrum disorders are taught the best way of communicating through such therapies. Engaging children in such therapy helps them to improve social skills and reduces disruptive behaviours. As well as cognitive skills are improved through this therapy.
2. Developmental and Individual Differences relationships
This approach is the best option to help children with spectrum disorder especially for those who are non-verbal. It includes a few skills of pivotal response training which helps children to initiate communication skills. This would be done by using conversational dialogues on daily basis. In autism treatment, daily living skills and communication or social skills are given more importance. This has the potential to improve the social and school functioning of autistic children. As well as a picture exchange communication system, picture boards or touch screens are used for children who do not have the ability to communicate.
3. Relationship developmental intervention
To teach life skills this early intervention is given to autistic children. The goal is to improve social and life skills by using different activities. The key features are that it has to be pleasure-based and children should enjoy doing these activities. It involve fine motor movements and sensory integration activities. Just like verbal behavior intervention to promote functional communication programs, this helps in increasing social initiations and appropriate play skills. Therefore, autism spectrum disorders respond well to relationship developmental intervention.
4. Occupational therapy
Occupational therapy is another popular treatment for autistic children which is used to improve their fine and gross motor skills. This also helps in improving their social perspective and improving sensory integration within them. Occupational therapy for autism spectrum disorder is one of the best treatments. To improve skills of these treatment options for autism spectrum disorder can be used. This physical therapy method is very helpful in children with ASD to teach them how to play and interact with people. Therefore, picture communication programs in pediatric occupational therapy can be considered as an effective therapy for autism.
5. Interfering or disruptive behaviors
In this treatment method, parents have to learn how to reduce behaviors in their children that they would otherwise do. This type of therapy involves many techniques and is a very helpful treatment in autism for them to develop skills in children with ASD.
National Institute of Health has been shown in clinical studies that behavioral interventions handle sensory integration issues and reduce aggressive behavior in children. For mental health of your child, this type of therapy works very well and to maximize functional independence in autistic children. As we have known that autism spectrum disorders children are more vulnerable to stress, so reducing the symptoms associated with autism it is very helpful. To increase the conversation skills of your children, this therapy works best.
6. Speech therapy
Speech-language therapy is especially important for autistic children. This would include teaching the child how to use and understand gestures and nonverbal communication, and also how to interact in a better way with his/her parents and peers. According to a licensed speech language pathologist, a comprehensive speech therapy approach should include the following:
1) Accepting and encouraging spontaneous communication.
2) Teaching new skills of vocabulary to help with comprehension.
3) Helping the child understand natural cause-effect relationships, such as “I’m hungry” means that you will get something to eat soon.
However, speech therapy in autism spectrum disorders children learn to use spoken language for social communication. Sign language, picture communication systems, and electronic communication aids are the alternative means in which children without speech use to communicate.
Tips we should remember
Here are some guidelines for parents who want to help their child with autism or their problematic behaviors and they are:
- As a parent, you must always be aware of the behavior of your child because it can give an idea if they are getting better or not.
- You should also help them develop good health. A healthy body can help with their mental health as well.
- Loving guidance is another thing that you need to establish for them so they can feel comfortable around you.
- You should be able to recognize their triggers so you can avoid some situations that are causing them stress.
- You have to create a support system for them. Knowing that they have people who care about them can help with their mental health as well. Being alone will just make it worst for them and behvioral symptoms will get worse.
- The autism-related irritability symptoms will be improved by the use of medications pharmaceutical treatments. It means that your child will have to take some medications as prescribed by their doctor.
- Provide social skills training is a must for children so they can learn how to socialize with other people.
- You have to give them opportunities for fun activities because it will help them relax also.
- For developing communication skills, you can teach them sign language or if they are a little older, use an augmentative communicative device.
- You may also need to go for alternative therapies which can help ease their discomfort.
- For also encouraging good behavior through reward systems which is very effective in improving their communication skills. And other therapies that can help them relieve stress and improve their concentration ability.
Furthermore, these tips should help you in dealing with the problematic behaviours of children who have autism.
The Bottom line
Therefore, parents of autistic children have a variety of therapeutic approaches to choose from. The six types of therapies that work best for autistic children are applied Behavior Analysis, developmental models, sensory integration therapy, etc. Each type of therapy has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it is important for parents to do their research before choosing therapy for their child.