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An Introduction to Autism

How well any one treatment option works varies from child to child, but most professionals agree that early intervention is important, and that most children diagnosed with ASD respond best to structured, specialized programs. The Autism Society of America provides parents with a list of suggested questions to ask when considering a certain treatment option:

  • Will the treatment result in harm to my child?
  • How will failure of the treatment affect my child and family?
  • Has the treatment been validated scientifically?
  • Is there assessment procedures specified?
  • How will the treatment be integrated into my child's current program?
  • One widely accepted form of treatment is known as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). According to Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General, research has shown that this method of treatment reduces inappropriate behavior and increases communication, learning, and appropriate social behavior. The basis of the treatment relies on intensive, one-on-one child-teacher interaction for 40 hours a week, and focuses on reinforcing desirable behaviors.

    An effective treatment program for a child with ASD should focus on the child's interests while offering a predictable schedule and highly structured activities. Behavior reinforcement and parental involvement are both major factors in the success of any given program. The ideal program should focus on helping the child in any specific area he is delayed in, while at the same time encouraging growth in his areas of strength. Each program should be unique to an individual's needs, and no one program will work for all children diagnosed with ASD. For a more in-depth look at treatments, read this article on alternative treatments.



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