Therapy can be a very important part of helping your child manage autism therapy symptoms. It can also help them become more independent. But it is important to choose a therapy that is right for your child, and to follow the recommendations of your doctor.
Medications can be an effective way to treat certain symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). These medications can reduce anxiety, increase focus or manage aggression. However, be sure to work closely with a doctor to make sure the medication is safe and does not cause problems for your child.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a psychological approach that can help people with autism understand the relationship between thoughts, feelings and behaviors. A therapist may use techniques such as role-playing and behavioral analysis to teach new ways to cope with stress or anxiety.
Physical therapists can help children with autism improve their fine motor skills and build muscle tone. They can work with them in the classroom or at home to help them learn and practice new skills, such as using scissors or playing with a ball.
Animal therapy, or animal assisted therapy, can be a fun and relaxing experience for some children with autism. But more research is needed to see if interaction with pets can improve the behavior of those with ASD.
Sensory-based therapies are a type of therapy that focuses on stimulating the senses. These therapies often include massage, touch therapy, squeezing toys and other activities that stimulate the sense of touch or balance.
Educational treatments can be very successful for children with autism spectrum disorder who respond well to a structured environment and a team of specialists. They can teach children social, communication or academic skills, such as how to sit quietly, say hello and follow rules.
This kind of therapy can be especially beneficial for preschool children who have had significant delays in language and other social skills. Early identification and treatment can have the most positive effect on a child’s development.
ABA, or applied behavior analysis, is the most commonly used autism-specific treatment and has been shown to be very effective for reducing problem behaviors and teaching new skills. ABA works through a reward-based motivation system.
It is a highly structured program with multiple sessions and opportunities for the person with autism to practice their skills and show progress. For example, if the person is learning to shake hands, they will be given a picture of an object and then receive a reward for shaking it.
The child is then taught to do this repeatedly. They can then be generalized to other situations through a process called discrete trial training (DTT).
Other therapies and supports aren’t usually recognized or reimbursed by insurance companies or schools, but they can be helpful in some cases. They aren’t considered “mainstream” and don’t have the same level of research and evidence as more established therapies that are accepted by most insurance providers and school systems.