Many autism treatments are out there, including alternative and biomedical therapy. I can’t possibly cover all of them. Three different terms are often thrown around interchangeably in this arena. Depending on who’s talking I’ve heard autism treatments, interventions, and therapies all used to indicate the same thing; ways to help your child. And children with ASD are plenty capable of learning, you just have to know how to teach them.
Children with autism often require the following therapies, some more than others. I’ll describe each of them in more detail in the paragraphs that follow. These are the clinically accepted autism treatments although there are several things we as parents could call treatments that benefit our child with autism.
› Behavioral Therapy
› Occupational Therapy
› Speech Therapy
› Physical Therapy
Behavior issues are not at all uncommon among children with autism. Typical children may throw fits, but children with autism have meltdowns. It’s not pleasant to witness. Braden was difficult to potty train and a behaviorialist was enlisted. Here are some excellent suggestions to help with toilet training. Behavioral therapy attempts to address those issues and many other behaviors. For example, my son Braden often resorts to hitting when he can’t express himself or when he gets frustrated. If someone is too close to him he may try to kick instead of asking that person to move back. The key to behavioral therapy is changing the way we the adults respond to our child’s behavior. It’s about changing our behavior, our response, to our child’s inappropriate behavior. This may be the most important of all autism treatments.
It sounds like Occupational therapy is to help your child find a job, right? Wrong. Often referred to as O.T. it’s really designed to help your child with proprioception, spatial awareness, motor skills, and such. Autism causes my son to lack coordination. He can’t do things that typical kids his age can do. Occupational therapy helps with this. For example, Braden cannot write as well as typical children. Writing uses fine motor skills. When he was younger he couldn’t jump with both feet together. Jumping uses gross motor skills. Hyper-sensitivity to light, sound, and touch would all be addressed with the help of a good Occupational Therapist, or OTR. It’s another one of the common autism treatments that virtually all ASD children receive.
This one is pretty much self explanatory. I don’t know a single autistic child who didn’t need many hours with a Speech and Language Pathologist. My son continues to need speech therapy and he isn’t close to speaking at the frequency or fluency of his peers. My wife and I can’t have a conversation with him because he can’t get the words out.
Speech therapy addresses both speech and language. What’s the difference? Speech is forming words and pronunciation. Language is putting the words together and forming sentences.
Some children with autism need physical therapy. This is usually because autism causes their muscles to be underdeveloped. Their muscles are smaller and these children have slender frames. Just like you may need physical therapy after breaking a leg to get those muscles back in shape, P.T. does the same thing for children with autism.