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Treatment of Autism

When discovering that your child has an autism spectrum disorder, it can quickly become an overwhelming experience. Regardless of the age of your child the emotions you will initially feel are very real. For some parents, the diagnosis may come as a complete surprise; others may have had suspicions and tried for months or years to get an accurate diagnosis. Some families struggle with getting a diagnosis for fear of it being correct. In either case, a diagnosis brings a multitude of questions about how to proceed. There are so many treatment options available that it can be difficult to know where to begin.

A generation ago, many people with autism were placed in institutions with so little information on what this disorder entailed, much less how to treat it. Professionals were less educated about autism than they are today and specific services and supports were largely non-existent. Today the picture is much clearer and parents are able to care for their children at home while their children can attend school. With appropriate services and supports, training, and information, children on the autism spectrum will grow, learn and flourish, even if at a different developmental rate than others. It’s all in how it’s treated.

While there is no known cure for autism, there are treatment and education approaches that may reduce some of the challenges associated with the condition. There are varying degrees of treatment and varying opinions on how well they work. Intervention may help to lessen disruptive behaviours, and education can teach self-help skills that allow for greater independence although this largely will depend of the age and individual. IT must be said that just as there is no one symptom or behaviour that identifies individuals with ASD, there is no single treatment that will be effective for all people on the spectrum. A spectrum disorder is too broad of a range to pinpoint one specific treatment. Individuals can learn to function within the confines of ASD and use the positive aspects of their condition to their benefit, but treatment must begin as early as possible and be tailored to the child's unique strengths, weaknesses and needs.

Throughout the history of autism community, parents and professionals have been confounded by conflicting messages regarding what are and what are not appropriate treatment approaches for children and adults on the autism spectrum. While some parents are opposed to any medical treatment what so ever, other parents are open to any kind of help that science can offer. There is no single best treatment package for all children with ASD. One point that most professionals agree on is that early intervention is important; another is that most individuals with ASD respond well to highly structured, specialized programs.

Before you make decisions on your child's treatment, you will want to gather information about the various options available. Learn as much as you can, look at all the options, and make your decision on your child's treatment based on your child's needs. You may want to visit public schools in your area to see the type of program they offer to special needs children. This can be beneficial to you and your child.