Like nearly every other aspect of autism and related pervasive developmental disorders, autism treatments are complex. Interventions that work wonders for some individuals do little for others. In spite of the challenges and complexities, some treatments for autistic disorders are very promising.
While many interventions are available, some are staples of treating the disorders. ABA, sensory integration and Social Stories are three prime examples of popular approaches used by parents and professionals in the treatment of pervasive developmental disorders.
Applied Behavioral Analysis
One of the most popular approaches for treating autism is applied behavioral analysis (ABA). Discrete trial is a facet of ABA that can yield excellent results. The fundamental element is breaking tasks down into small, manageable steps while providing clear rewards as positive reinforcement for appropriate responses.
Greenspan's Floortime is a favorite among professionals and families because of its effectiveness in developing strong relational bonds. This form of play therapy encourages social interaction, appropriate behaviors and communication.
Some consider sensory integration therapy for autism to be a reward but it is actually a necessity for autistic individuals. Self-stimulatory behaviors such as hand flapping are telltale signs that the person is dealing with sensory processing issues. Engaging in activities catered to the individual's specific sensory needs helps her regulate herself, enabling her to engage in activities with fewer distractions.
Social Stories, developed by the Gray Center, are excellent tools to help people with autism develop a viable approach to dealing with many social situations. The stories serve as preparatory scripts that develop expectations and relieve some of the stress the individual may feel in some instances.
Some interventions complement traditional approaches while others, such as MAPS Programming for Autism are subject to controversy. Treatments range from medication and dietary changes to potentially dangerous approaches such as chelation.
Share what does and does not work in your experience. With so many interventions and diversities among the autistic population, reader input is a very important aspect of LoveToKnow Autism. Comments and suggestions are welcome and greatly appreciated.