Treatment package suitable for Autistic Children


"Autism" means a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and non-verbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age three that adversely affects educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences. Over the years, families have tried various types of traditional and nontraditional treatments to reduce autistic behaviors and to increase appropriate behaviors. Although some individuals are given medications to improve general well being, there is no primary drug, which has been shown to be consistently effective in treating symptoms of autism. The most widely prescribed medication for autistic children is Ritalin, (a stimulant used to treat Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder). When it comes to autism treatment, there are a dizzying variety of therapies and approaches. Some autism therapies focus on reducing problematic behaviors and building communication and social skills, while others deal with sensory integration problems, motor skills, emotional issues, and food sensitivities.

With so many choices, it is extremely important to do your research, talk to autism treatment experts, and ask questions. But keep in mind that you don't have to choose just one type of therapy. The goal of autism treatment should be to treat all of your child's symptoms and needs. This often requires a combined treatment approach that takes advantage of many different types of therapy.

Common autism treatments include behavior therapy, speech-language therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, nutritional therapy, and medication.

Behavior Therapy

Behavior management therapy uses rewards, or positive reinforcement, to teach autistic kids desirable behaviors and reduce ones that cause problems. Although there are many behavioral therapies for autism, applied behavior analysis (ABA) is the most widely accepted approach. ABA can help children with autism learn how to interact with others, play with toys, and improve their verbal and nonverbal skills. ABA is also effective for eliminating problem behaviors such as self-injury or stimming (repetitive, self-stimulatory behaviors such as twirling, finger flicking, and rocking).

Speech, Physical and Occupational Therapy

Speech and language therapy: Speech and language therapy addresses the communication difficulties that children with autism often struggle with. The focus in speech therapy is usually on improving verbal skills and language ability. However, speech and language therapy is also used to teach nonverbal communication skills and social skills that will help autistic kids communicate better with others.

Physical therapy: Physical therapy helps children with autism improve their posture, balance, coordination, and strength. Physical therapists can work with young autistic children on basic motor skills such as sitting independently, walking, running, and jumping. They may also help older autistic kids learn more complex movements such as throwing, catching, or kicking a ball in order to participate in sports, recess, and other play activities.

Occupational therapy: Occupational therapy helps children with autism spectrum disorders learn the skills they need for living. An occupational therapist may teach kids basic self-care skills such as getting dressed, brushing their teeth, or feeding themselves. Occupational therapy is also used to increase sensory integration in kids who under react or overreact to stimuli such as noise or touch.

Nutritional therapy and diet changes

Nutritional therapy for autism is a controversial area. Some alternative doctors recommend specialized diets and supplements to treat autism, but at the present time there is little scientific evidence to support their effectiveness. On the other hand, many parents of autistic children believe that dietary interventions have helped their kids.

The bottom line is: while nutritional therapy and dietary restrictions may not cure autism or its core symptoms, they can be a helpful complementary treatment. Many autistic children have chronic gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, stomachaches, gas, and constipation. The pain and discomfort of these gastrointestinal problems can naturally lead to irritability, anger, and other challenging behavior. Eliminating certain foods and adding vitamin supplements may improve digestion in some kids. If an autistic child feels better, he or she is less likely to act up.

Gluten-free, Casein-Free Diet (GFCF):  Some autistic kids are sensitive or allergic to gluten (a protein found in wheat and other grains) and/or casein (a protein found in dairy products). If medical tests reveal that your child suffers from these sensitivities, you may want to consider a gluten-free, casein-free diet. The GFCF diet is very restrictive (no bread, cereal, milk, ice cream, or cheese for starters) and can also have side effects, so itís a good idea to consult with a nutritionist or a doctor before putting your child on it. A nutritionist can help you develop a diet plan that includes the essential vitamins, protein, and fiber your growing child needs. This is particularly important if your kid is a picky eater

Vitamin supplements: Autistic children may have nutritional deficiencies that contribute to their symptoms. In these cases, vitamin supplements may help. Supplements used for autism treatment include vitamin B, magnesium, vitamin C, omega-3, and cod liver oil.