Intervention Program: A Treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder

Children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) show problems related to social, communication and behavior deficits. Known as a spectrum disorder, individuals with autism have either mild or severe symptoms. The type of treatment they receive depends on their individual needs. 

Early diagnosis coupled with effective intervention is vital for achieving the best possible future for children with autism. Diagnosis of ASD is possible from as young as six months and before the age of 3.  

Treatment Options For Managing The Symptoms

Different treatment options for autism spectrum disorder are applied to improve their social, speech and behavior deficits in individuals. These treatments depend on his/her individual needs, but the goal is to reduce the symptoms and enhance development.

The most effective treatment options for autism spectrum disorder are applied behavioral analysis (ABA), speech therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, art therapy, medical management, etc. At times, a prescribed medication and diet plan also helps in managing their conditions. Intervention program works to minimize the impact of ASD symptoms and to maximize the functional and quality of life of individuals. 

Speech Therapy

Individuals with autism spectrum disorder have deficits in verbal and non-verbal communication. They also have trouble producing speech sounds, and their language, if present, is hard to understand. Speech therapy done under the guidance of a speech-language therapist helps individuals to express their needs or wants. Electronic talkers, picture communication programs, massaging lips or facial muscles to improve the articulation of speech are some of the useful tools implied by the therapist to improve communication abilities.

The speech therapy sessions assist the participants to understand both verbal and nonverbal cues such as tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language. The speech therapist work with family members, caregivers, and teachers to promote communication skill in the natural setting at home and school.

Occupational Therapy (OT)

The goal of occupational therapy is to improve social interaction, behavior, and to help the child lead an independent life.

Occupational therapy is useful in treating sensory integration issues related to autism. It refines the fine motor skills to help individuals in tying shoelaces, buttoning the shirt, combing hair, writing and cutting with scissors. It improves their quality of life and the capability to participate in day-to-day activities. Each occupational therapy program is based on goals to improve sensory integration, fine motor issues, enhance social behavior and independence.

Physical Therapy 

Apart from behavioral, sensory and communication difficulties, individuals with autism spectrum disorder also experience difficulties with motor skills. Physical therapy is one of the best treatment options for autism spectrum disorder to improve gross motor skills. It improves the muscle tone of the individuals and their ability to participate in activities (balancing, hopping, skipping or riding a bike) with more refined and sophisticated body control.  

The various treatments or therapies for autism are effective when integrated into the individual’s early intervention programs.

Author: autismconnectassociation

Autism Connect is a voluntary group based in Mumbai, India formed by parents and professional care-takers of children on the autism spectrum. Parenting and caring for a child with autism is a special responsibility in itself. There are doubts, questions and uncertainties in our minds. At Autism Connect, we endeavor to collect literature on evidence based practices (with special emphasis on newer emerging therapies) in the management of autism and share it with autism associations and organizations across the world with the hope that these associations disseminate and distribute this to their members and parents of children with autism.

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