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Pliro
Written by Pliro
Apr 4, 2019 Last updated: Apr 4, 2019
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Autism, in the clinical context is also known as “autism spectrum disorder”. The name comes from the fact that its symptoms manifest at different intensities in different individuals. Therefore, 2 people diagnosed with autism may display entirely different behaviors.

In fact, the term autism is not a precise condition or diagnosis,  it is just a broad category for people with problems with their social skills, repetitive behaviors/ movements, unusual responses to everyday situations or changes in routines and a general difficulty communicating with others.

Autism is usually diagnosed during the first years of life (2 or 3 years). In some cases, 12 month old babies manifest early signs (like not babbling or pointing); however, some children do learn how to talk and interact normally in social situations before “regressing”.

At the moment there is no known cause for autism. It does seem to be more common in boys than in girls but global statistics report that around 0,7% of all children fall in this category. The number of cases per year has broadly remained the same for 20 years.

Challenges

Autism usually is associated to a number of secondary conditions that have negative effects over the child’s life and also their parent’s. Among the most well-known we find:

At this point is important for us to clarify that someone with autism can have a very successful and happy life if he/she counts with proper help. A great number of people with autism can become entirely independent and the chances of this increase considerably with early diagnosis. Here you’ll find more information on how to deal with some of these problems.

Curing Autism

There is no known cure for autism. However, a group of diverse treatments and therapies have proven to be very effective in allowing an independent, productive and happy life.

Verbal behavior therapy

It promotes better communication and language skills by teaching that words are not only labels we use to categorize or identify things, they are also useful to achieve goals and reducing frustration.

This therapy is used to improve the skills of both children and autistic adults who use assisted communication. It is recognized as an effective therapy by over 60 different studies.

Speech therapy

Some people with autism can’t talk and others can but have difficulties with verbal and nonverbal communication.  After a careful evaluation, a personalized therapy will be recommended based on each individual’s challenges.

The objective of speech therapy is to improve both verbal and nonverbal communication. This means the patient will have to work on speaking more clearly, strengthening muscles related to speech, matching emotions with facial expressions correctly, etc.

This same therapy can also help with feeding and swallowing issues (which tend to be associated with speech impediment)

Relationship development intervention (RID)

This approach is mainly focused on families and the idea of dynamic intelligence. Most RID programs work by training the parents in guiding their children to more usual social interactions by gradually teaching them how to understand different perspectives, cope with change and use information when it comes from different senses. So far, RID has proven to act over some of the core characteristics of autism.

Parent involvement is essential for the success of RID.

Pivotal response treatment

PRT uses positive reinforcement to promote progress in certain key areas of the child’s behavior like: Motivation, response to multiple cues, initiating social interactions and self-management. This is one of the most recommended treatments for autism and is usually aimed to children of up to 14 years old.

This method focuses on rewarding any attempt to engage in social interaction as a form of motivation.

Occupational therapy

OT focuses on developing basic skills related to everyday activities. This is a more pragmatic approach. After an evaluation, the specialist will determine the areas in which the child is currently failing and propose a strategy to work on the problem.

This therapy aims for the child eventually being able of eating, dressing, grooming, etc without any help from others. 

Floortime

Floortime also requires a strong element of parental involvement. In it, the parents or caretakers physically get on the floor to play with their children in order to promote emotional development.

Each session is supervised by a therapist who trains the parents on how to guide their children into more complex interactions.

Early start Denver model

ESDM is aimed to very young children (up to 48 months) and it mainly uses play and joint activities to create positive relationships and promote social and communication skills early on.

Applied behavior analysis

ABA is a very flexible treatment method based on the principles of positive reinforcement and the study of the association between antecedent, behavior and consequences.

When applied correctly, this approach can help with communication, cognitive skills and problematic behavior.

Recommendations To Deal with Autism

Some of the most frequent recommendations and forms of treatment have already been mentioned in this article; however, there are a few things that could be useful to add:

  • Interact with your child as much as possible during routine activities.
  • Create opportunities for your child to interact with you and others.
  • Celebrate even small accomplishments.
  • learn as much as you can about autism.

This article should guide you through the basics of autism and its treatment. Is important for you to understand than even the most successful cases take time and effort. Most treatment strategies plan for the long-term.     

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