Treating Autism is not about changing who the person is, treatment is also not about curing Autism. It is about giving those with these disorders power and skills to manage the challenges that Autism present to them. Being different does not make you any less normal but what does, is the stigma of what is considered normal by society’s standards that pose one of the biggest challenges to adapting to life with Autism. Most importantly, Autism treatment is not an ONE SIZE FITS ALL scenario. Each and every person with an ASD’s has needs and their treatment plan must be no different. Treatment can take educational approaches, teaching the person skills and giving them self-help tools to improve their quality of life and give them a fair opportunity at independence.
No Quick Fix
Autism treatment can involve a number of treatment approaches, it is important to remember that you are treating symptoms, challenges, and not a disorder. Treatment will differ from one person to another, each individual is unique and their treatment plan must be adjusted to fit their requirements. Treatments can include:
- Therapy Treatments such as behavioral therapy, physical therapy or even speech therapy.
- Medicines – It is important to remember that people with autism could have other medical concerns such as seizures that would need to be managed and treated.
- A combination of treatment options.
There are a number of treatment approaches and the assessment will give you a better indication of which is most suitable for the person. The Top 8 Autism therapies as reported by parents include: (Excerpt)
- Occupational Therapy
- Speech Therapy
- ABA Therapy
- Social Skills Classes
- Hippotherapy (OT through horseback riding)
- GFCF Diet
- Psychiatrist/Psychologist sessions
- Floor Time, RDI, PECs, Swimming, PRT
It is important to remember that treatment plans are determined through the developmental needs of the person. These needs can be determined through assessment. What works for one person might not necessarily work for another, treatment is as unique as each person is. Other useful resources for learning about early intervention and autism therapies include The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism and the CDC’s Autism Page.
Therapies and Treatments are Best Achieved as a Team
Families are encouraged to take part in treatments and therapies. With the right support and guidance, you can offer your support to continue therapy outside the therapist’s office. Learning to teach a person skills and self-care will extend the purpose of therapy but it will also take time and patience. Chat to your therapists and support groups, take advice but always remember to adapt that advice to best suit the person needs. There are a number of skill packages, books, you tube videos and forums where people caring for and supporting a person.
Once you can determine what form of therapy would best suit the Autistic person, take the time to read research and make notes. Once you are comfortable enough, make the appointment and go armed with questions and history. Also remember to stay informed, ask for updates and feedback on progress. It is important that you adjust your home approach to include any changes.
You Need Support, to Give Support
Join support groups and ask for advice on how best to approach the decision to go for the assessment or start treatment. Treatment and change can be a challenging and anxious time for the family. It helps to have a pillar to lean on. Learn to ask questions, help, chat to other parents or care givers, sharing knowledge is a powerful tool and approach to treatment. Most importantly, BE AN ADVOCATE and give people with ASD’s a voice.