Autism is not caused by a lack of love, and it is not cured by punishment. Parents need support to manage difficult behaviours with structure and consistency.
No one individual with ASD is exactly like another, as each will have their own unique set of strengths and challenges. Most individuals will require a multitude of therapeutic interventions, as each challenge must be addressed with the appropriate therapy. The challenges will change as the child ages; therefore, the therapeutic interventions must be changed over time as well.
One of the most frustrating things about autism is that there is no one thing or one list of things to do to cure an individual of autism. Most families now choose a multidisciplinary approach to treatments, combining intensive autism specific intervention programs, clinical therapeutic interventions, and medical/biomedical treatments. Families are encouraged to use any treatment option that reflects the needs of their child.
Autism Intensive Early Intervention Programs
Intensive treatment programs are developed specifically to treat autism spectrum disorders, require multiple hours per week of therapy, and address behavioural, developmental, and/or educational goals. In some cases, therapeutic goals and practitioners are integrated into the intensive therapy programs. These programs are created specifically for preschool children, but some children may benefit from staying in the program into their school-age years.
The majority of families use one type of intensive intervention program that best meets the needs of their child and their parenting style. Parents then select additional therapeutic interventions (such as speech or occupational therapy) designed to address the specific challenges currently being displayed by their children. There are many types of intensive intervention programs, and they adopt a core treatment principle and/or methodology that guides the operation of the program.
These therapies include:
- APPLIED BEHAVIORAL ANALYSIS (ABA)
The Association for Behavior Analysis International (www.ABAinternational.org)
Behavior Analyst Certification Board (www.BACB.com)
- PIVOTAL RESPONSE TREATMENT (PRT) UCSB
Koegel Autism Center (www.Education.UCSB.edu/autism)
Floortime Foundation (www.Floortime.org)
Stanley Greenspan (www.StanleyGreenspan.com)
- RELATIONSHIP DEVELOPMENT INTERVENTION (RDI)
Connections Center (www.RDIconnect.com)
- TRAINING AND EDUCATION OF AUTISTIC AND RELATED COMMUNICATION HANDICAPPED CHILDREN (TEACCH)
TEACCH Autism Program (www.TEACCH.com)
- Social Communication/Emotional Regulation/Transactional Support (SCERTS)
Barry Prizant (www.BarryPrizant.com)