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AUTISM

 
  
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How is it treated?

Written by : DoctorNDTV Team
Checked by : Dr S Anandalakshmy
Advisor on Child Development & Education,
Chennai

There is no medical cure for autism. The aim of treatment is to enable the child’s potential to develop, minimize disruptive behaviors (by attending to the underlying causes for the behavior) and to include the child effectively in mainstream society. In order to achieve this, the treatment approach is multi-faceted. The earlier the treatment starts, the greater the chances of the child being effectively adjusted into society. Early intervention programs that focus on possible diet allergies, sensory integration therapy, communication and holistic development are vital. The early years constitute a critical developmental period and the child’s experiences at this stage have a lasting impact on future development.

Children with autism process information differently. They are often visual learners and need alternate teaching strategies. They benefit from a clear structure and regular routines.

Treatment modalities suggested are:

  • ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis)
  • The TEACH method (Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children)
  • The CFGF diet (Casein- Free, Gluten- Free diet)
  • Vitamin /Mineral therapy
  • The LOVAAS method
  • THE DELACATO method
  • Sensory Integration Therapy
  • PECS (picture exchange communication system)
  • Use of social stories
  • Use of facilitated communication

    Each method has something to offer. However the condition calls for an eclectic approach to treatment that combines biomedical, sensory integration therapies and learning paced at the child’s level. The child’s needs and abilities must outweigh the selection of any one specific methodology.

    Early intervention with parents, understanding and empathizing with their child’s condition, and helping him through his sensory difficulties are vital.

    Caregivers may focus on changing the outward behaviours, which are socially inappropriate. They need information which enables them to understand the underlying deep sensory need that finds expression only through these behaviours.
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