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Top 10 Therapies for Kids with Autism



January 2012

There is no one medical path for kids diagnosed with autism. Discerning which treatment is best adds a great deal of stress to families trying to cope with the diagnosis. All kinds of treatments are available -- some good, some bad, and some in between. It can be sensory overload. Following are treatments identified by the national autism advocacy organization Autism Speaks that families may run across in their research. The organization identifies these treatments as those which have the most evidence behind them or are most commonly used.

ABA. This is the scientific approach to understanding behavior and how it is affected by the environment. Its techniques increase useful behavior and reduce harmful behavior.

Early Start Denver Model. This comprehensive behavioral approach is for children 12 to 48 months and integrates a relationship-focused developmental model with ABA practices.

Pivotal Response Therapy. Pivotal Response Therapy is based on ABA and is used to teach language, decrease unwanted behaviors, and increase social, communication and academic skills.

Verbal Behavior Therapy. Also based on ABA principles, verbal behavior therapy works to motivate a child to learn language by developing a connection between a word and its value.

Floortime. In this form of treatment, an adult meets a child at his developmental level and builds on his strengths. The work is often done through play on the floor.

Relationship Development Intervention. This parent-based treatment systematically works on building motivation and teaching skills, focusing on the child's current developmental level of functioning.

Training and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children (TEACCH). TEACCH uses a structured teaching approach based on the Culture of Autism or relative strengths and difficulties shared by people on the spectrum that is relevant to how they learn.

Social Communication/Emotional Regulation/Transactional Support (SCERTS). This educational model uses practices from other approaches including ABA, TEACCH, Floortime and Relationship Development Intervention. It focuses on helping children with autism to develop the ability to learn and spontaneously apply functional and relevant skills in a variety of settings and with a variety of partners.

Autism-related treatments. Speech-language therapy, occupational therapy, sensory integration therapy, physical therapy, and Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) are among the treatment options that address symptoms related to autism.

Gluten free, casein free diet. Some families have found that special diets have eased their child's autism symptoms. None have been scientifically proven.


Tags: Special Needs

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