Autism is a puzzling disorder. As of this writing, the cause and cure remain unknown and mysterious. Yet several different types of therapies have emerged as being potentially useful in treating autism spectrum disorder. Children are all different so it is difficult to predict the best therapies for children with autism. Parents must try and decide for themselves. Following are some of the best therapies for children with autism:
1. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Applied Behavior Analysis is a very widely used therapy in which complex skills are broken down systematically into a series of simpler tasks. Positive reinforcement is used to teach children complex skills like language.
2.. Dietary Interventions. Many children with autism are on one or several of various choices for special dietary interventions. These special diets often entail gluten- free, casein free or specific carbohydrates. For more information contact the Autism Network for Dietary Intervention (ANDI.)
3. Augmentative Communication. Some children who are nonverbal or only limited verbal can be taught to use augmentative communication devices such as DynaWrite. DynaWrite is a keyboard with a language engine inside it that can voice what is typed- a kind of “talking computer.” Some nonverbal autistic people have gone to universities and colleges with these enormously helpful devices. For more information on obtaining the DynaWrite contact www.mayer-johnson.com
4. Floor Time Therapy. The Floor Time Model of therapy emphasizes development of receptive and expressive language and relationships. It was developed by Stanley I. Greenspan, MD. For more information contact the Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental and Learning Disorders.
5. Son Rise Program. The Son Rise program at the Autism Treatment Center of America Option Institute teaches families how to implement a home based child centered program based on acceptance and “joining.” Parents are taught how to recruit and train a support team. For more information www.son-rise.org.
6. DAN! (Defeat Autism Now) Conference. The DAN! Conference is an annual conference at which the DAN! protocol for treatment of autism is discussed by parents and professionals. The conference is put on by the Autism Research Institute. For more information contact www.autism.com/ari/
7. Fast ForWord. Some parents and speech language pathologists have used a software program called Fast ForWord with their children. Fast ForWord generally slows speech sounds down and then gradually speeds them up again so that children can learn to process them. For more information www.scientificlearning.com
8. Auditory Integration Training. Some children with autism experience hyperacute (painful) hearing. This does not have to do with deafness at all, rather the sounds are heard at distorted pitches which causes pain to the child. Some children put their hands over their ears. Auditory Integration Training attempts to address this.
Those are eight of the best therapies for children with autism. Hopefully one approach if not some combination of approaches will produce improvement for a child over time.