Best Treatment for High-Functioning Autism

"What would be the best treatment for my child with high functioning autism?"

The main goals of treatment are to lessen associated deficits and family distress, and to increase quality of life and functional independence. No single treatment is best, and treatment is typically tailored to the child's needs.

Intensive, sustained special education programs and behavior therapy early in life can help these kids acquire self-care, social, and job skills, and often improve functioning and decrease symptom severity and maladaptive behaviors. Claims that intervention "must" occur before the age of three for it to be effective are not substantiated.

Available approaches include: 
  • applied behavior analysis
  • developmental models
  • structured teaching
  • speech and language therapy
  • social skills therapy
  • occupational therapy 

Educational interventions have some effectiveness. Intensive ABA treatment has demonstrated effectiveness in enhancing global functioning in preschool kids and is well-established for improving intellectual performance. 

Many medications are used to treat problems associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). More than half of U.S. kids diagnosed with ASD are prescribed psychoactive drugs or anticonvulsants, with the most common drug classes being antidepressants, stimulants, and anti-psychotics.

There is scant reliable research about the effectiveness or safety of drug treatments for individuals with ASD. A child or teen with ASD may respond atypically to medications, the medications can have adverse effects, and no known medication relieves ASD's core symptoms of social and communication difficulties.

Although many alternative therapies and interventions are available, few are supported by scientific studies. Treatment approaches have little empirical support in quality-of-life contexts, and many programs focus on success measures that lack predictive validity and real-world relevance. Scientific evidence appears to matter less to service providers than program marketing, training availability, and parent requests.

Though most alternative treatments (e.g., melatonin) have only mild adverse effects, some may place the child at risk. One study found that, compared to their peers, boys with ASD have significantly thinner bones if on casein-free diets. And in 2005, botched chelation therapy killed a five-year-old child with Autism.

Resources for parents of children and teens on the autism spectrum:

==> Videos for Parents of Children and Teens with ASD
What parents have to say:
  • Anonymous said...Why does Aspergers need to be treated? It's not a disease like juvenile diabetes where without insulin the child will die!!!! Aspergers is an exceptionality!! The child needs to be loved,taught and supported not cured. The public needs to be educated. The parents who need to treat or cure their autistic child need to accept their child and help then develop to their full potential just like any other child. I wouldn't change a single thing about my Aspie! She wouldn't be the great person she is without it. We need to celebrate Autism not make it something shameful. How can we expect others to accept our child if we don't accept them ourselves? Parents need to be ok with who their child is so the child can accept who they are. When that happens, society will accept them too. Acceptance begins at home with the parents.
  • Anonymous said... If your deciding factor for treating a medical conditions is only to prevent the patient from dying, of course not, it should not be treated. However, if a significant improvement can be made in the quality of life of the child (as well as any individual with a disorder) you will find that most people would favor safe effective treatments for any non-life treathening diorder.
  • Anonymous said...Why does Aspergers need to be treated? Because my 17-year-old daughter spends her life in her room instead of doing any of the things girls her age should be doing.
  • Tasha said...I am not looking for something to cure Aspergers but something to help my son focus so that he can do his school work. Any ideas would be helpful. Thanks
  • Unknown said...I need medication:((( I'm only 11 and am really depressed:(( can anyone help meee!? parents don't support me they just think I'm stupid.. any advice??
  • Unknown said... You're a very bright young lady. I'm sorry your parents don't understand. My daughter is 12 & we are learning more about high functioning autism and aspergures. Don't give up. You're important & things will get better.

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