Receiving an Autism diagnosis is a life-changing moment, both for the child and for their parents. A lifelong condition, Autism affects the child’s social and behavioral skills — making it difficult for them to cope with conversations, unfamiliar settings, or routine changes. However, the right treatment can do wonders for their abilities and help them lead an independent, functional life. Read on to know more about the treatment options available if your child has been diagnosed with Autism.
Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder refers to a range of neurodevelopmental disorders that affect social, behavioral, and communicative abilities. Children with Autism tend to display awkward social behavior, have trouble communicating, or experience sensory meltdowns, as their brain cannot process inputs the same way other children can.
Treatment options for Autism
Autism is a spectrum disorder, which means that there are varied symptoms, and no two children with Autism will behave in the same way. The best Autism treatment thus involves designing a tailored plan to help each child learn and develop in a manner most suited to them.
Some of the therapies that your doctor may recommend includes:
- Speech Therapy: Some children with more severe cases of Autism may be unable to articulate what they feel or want. Speech therapists can help them develop their speaking abilities through suitable exercises.
- Occupational Therapy: This type of therapy focuses on teaching children with Autism to perform daily activities like getting dressed, feeding themselves, playing with toys, and others. It can help them achieve an independent lifestyle as they grow up.
- Social skills therapy: This type of therapy helps children with Autism mix better with their family members, teachers, classmates, and other people they encounter. Storytelling, supervised role-play, board games, and fun conversation challenges can help them adjust to playing in a group and expressing what they want or what they think.
Additionally, having a list of social rules written down somewhere for them to see can also help. This serves to remind them about what they can and cannot do when in a social setting.
- Floortime: This type of treatment involves therapists and children getting down on the floor to perform various fun activities and games. It can help them improve their emotional awareness and communicate their feelings, thus enabling intellectual and emotional growth.
- Visual-based education: To help children with Autism grasp concepts better, many therapists will use picture cards with information broken down into small steps with appropriate illustrations. This can help them to understand concepts like how to dress or pack their bags for school.
Another type of visual-based therapy is the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), which helps children communicate through special symbols.
- Medical care: Autism has no physical symptoms, but certain behaviors can be physically harmful. For instance, some children with Autism tend to bite their nails or bang their heads against the wall. In such cases, the doctor may prescribe treatment to curb such tendencies or minimize the physical harm caused by them.
- Dietary changes: Some parents may observe that certain foods trigger more aggressive behavior in their children than others and may thus want to remove those foods from the child’s diet. However, it is crucial to consult a doctor before making any such dietary modifications.
- Sensory diet: Many therapists and doctors recommend a sensory diet for children with Autism to compensate for the sensory overloads they often experience, such as exposure to bright lights or loud colors. A sensory diet typically involves exposing them to varied textures and products to handle, taste, smell, and see. It helps them to improve their concentration on schoolwork and other activities.
Parenting a child with Autism can be challenging. However, it’s important to remember that love and patience can help your child make the most of therapy. Keep educating yourself about Autism and work with your doctor to make tweaks to the therapy program based on their improvements. With the best Autism treatment and a supportive home environment, your child can live a happy and fulfilling life just like their peers.