There are a wide variety of therapies available for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The number of services and providers can be overwhelming. Before selecting a treatment, determine what treatment would be the most critical at this juncture. Another recommendation is to start young. Once your child gets into their teen years, they are overwhelmed with school and more defiant.
- For young children, most professionals recommend Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) as a starting point. Originally developed by Ivar Lovaas at UCLA, ABA is based on breaking down the learning a child must master into smaller lessons. Using positive reinforcement, the child slowly builds up knowledge and capabilities. An ABA program requires a trained staff. There are numerous organizations in Orange County that offer ABA programs. Here are a brief list of providers who are known to OCASG:
- For teens and young adults, many OCASG members have had their children participate in the PEERS program. PEERS is a research based social skills training program that offers practical skills and training to help individuals make and keep friends. Topics such as entering conversations and dealing with bullying are covered.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a type of psychotherapy in which negative patterns of thought about the self and the world are challenged in order to alter unwanted behavior patterns or treat mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, relationship issues and other disorders.
- Clinical Psychology Therapy
- Nutritional therapies have been used to help individuals with ASD. Gluten-free, dairy free diets and diets high in Omega 3 have been found to be beneficial.
- Vision therapy and perceptual motor coordination are common therapies for individuals who may experience sensory issues can be treated. Vision therapy is effective in helping patients on the autism spectrum who have disorders such as poor depth perception, poor eye- hand coordination, lack of awareness of one’s physical place within an area, and poor eye contact.
- Medication is typically administered by a psychiatrist. There are medications to reduce anxiety, address attention deficits, lower obsessive compulsive behaviors, and manage depression. Work with your psychiatrist on the correct program.
- Hypnosis has been used by some of our members to control anxiety and focus on behavioral changes.
- Martial Arts and exercise are often an area of focus for parents of children with ASD to help develop physical skills and discipline. It is important that your child develop interest, so look for extracurricular programs in areas such as music, theater, art, animals, computers, or whatever your child finds entertaining.
Finally, be patient with your child and yourself. You can’t do everything and you should not feel overwhelmed. Above all else, choose the people and programs that you feel are appropriate and are documented to be effective.