It may come as a major shock to parents to find their child being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Most of the times, they are left with an overwhelming query as to what should be the right treatment approaches that would have appropriately improved their development and behaviors. While there are various education programs and treatment procedures that can contribute immensely to the growing and learning of these individuals with special needs, it is extremely important that the treatment courses are started as early as possible to produce the best results.
Apart from medicines and behavioral training, there are various autism therapies that can prove to be very beneficial in the all-round development of an individual on the autism spectrum. Some of the therapies include:
Occupational Therapy: This is highly beneficial in developing coordination and motor skills.
Speech Therapy: This helps in improving language and communication skills.
Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Training: This is a useful treatment method for autism and associated behavioral problems such as slapping others, head-banging etc.
Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) Training: This is a recently invented treatment approach that is used to develop in children the ability to socialize with other people.
Sensory Therapy: Children with autism can have various sensory problems. While some of them are highly sensitive to external stimuli like light, sound and touch, some do not respond at all to these stimuli. Sensory therapies help significantly in improving and stabilizing such sensory problems.
It has been demonstrated in various scientific studies that autistic children who are subjected to early treatments show considerable improvement in communication, learning and social skills. With this aspect in mind, researchers have designed a number of autism therapies that can help individuals immensely. Although the effectiveness of these therapies may vary in each individual, there are certain important aspects that should be present in any good therapeutic program.
- Any child on the autism spectrum should be subjected to the therapy sessions for a minimum of 25 hours per week.
- The therapists or teachers conducting the sessions should be highly trained, skilled and qualified. It is also beneficial to have trained paraprofessionals working under the guidance of knowledgeable professionals having expertise in autism therapy, to support the program.
- The therapy programs should contain clear and accurate learning goals with appropriate techniques to assess, evaluate and record the child's ability to meet the goals.
- The therapeutic sessions should be designed in a way to focus on the main aspects of the child's personality that have been majorly impacted by autism, including language and communication skills, social skills, motor skills, play skills and the abilities of self-care.
- The programs should provide a platform for the child, where they can interact with a peer group with the same development issues.
- The programs should allow parents to take active part in both decision making and implementation of the program.
- The therapy sessions should integrate an entire team of professionals including a physician, a speech therapist and an occupational therapist.
- The therapists should exhibit an adequate level of compassion and understanding of the child and their family.