What is the best therapy for a child with Aspergers?

Question

What is the best therapy for a child with Aspergers?

Answer

Actually, there is no “best” therapy for Aspergers (High Functioning Autism). However, there are various standard courses of treatment. Each treatment modality addresses a different set of issues. When a youngster is first diagnosed with Aspergers, he may be referred for therapy. Aspergers, as you know, is not a condition that can be cured. It is a neuro-developmental condition that is treated with an individualized treatment plan that may include different therapies and medications. Here are some of the most common treatment options:

1. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is used to treat the emotional side of Aspergers (e.g., anxiety, depression, obsessions, etc.). This therapy helps form the connections between feelings, emotions, and behavior.

2. Occupational therapy is basically used to teach independence. Grasp, handwriting, social skills, and play skills are often included. This therapy may help your youngster learn to tie his shoes of zip his jacket.

3. Physical therapy addresses the physical awkwardness that sometimes comes with Aspergers. Awkward gait and lack of balance are common complaints. This therapy may help your youngster learn to kick a ball, walk up and down stairs, and ride a bicycle.

4. Sensory integration therapy may be included by the occupational therapist. Some occupational therapists are trained in sensory therapies and some are not. This therapy helps get your youngster’s sensory systems in synch.

5. Social skills training is a therapy that teaches kids with Aspergers how to relate to others, making and keeping friends, how to recognize social cues and gestures, and other details such as personal space and understanding slang.

6. Speech/language therapy covers speech articulation as well as pragmatics, or fluency. Language therapy covers social communication, and in some cases, social skills. Speech/language therapy will help your youngster learn to communicate verbally or nonverbally, if necessary, with the use of picture exchange and/or sign language.

7. Young kids are often treated with ABA therapy. Applied Behavioral Analysis is a form of therapy used to teach young kids basic skills in many different areas (e.g., can be used to teach young kids to make eye contact, to play with toys, and to identify shapes and colors).

Moms and dads need to fully support and participate in their youngster’s therapy. Aspergers therapies can be successfully performed by parents in the home with the proper support and training.  

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