Understanding Autism Treatments for Children
August 01, 2011The news that your child is one of a growing number diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can be overwhelming. Even though there is no cure, research shows that early intervention treatment services can greatly improve development. Here's what you need to know about determining the best treatment options.
The Importance of Evaluation
Children with autism may have skills at varying levels, so it is important to carefully assess general skills and very specific ones separately. The Riley Hospital for Children Christian Sarkine Autism Treatment Center at Indiana University Health is one of the largest autism treatment centers in the country and offers both evaluation and treatment to help children and adults achieve their potential.
There are a wide variety of interventions, so using a systematic approach to treatment is critical. Spend time educating yourself on your child's disorder. Check out Web sites for HANDS in Autism, part of the Riley Christian Sarkine Autism Treatment Center at IU Health, the Autism Society of America and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The National Standards Report by the National Autism Center provides critical information on making treatment choices and which ones are most effective.
With your healthcare provider, prioritize the medical, behavioral and educational interventions that may be needed. The most effective plan may include both medicine and behavioral modification techniques. Try only one new treatment at a time. Measure before and after to see if there are changes. You should also learn about the therapist's training, the targeted behaviors as well as time, cost and possible side effects.
• Be an advocate for your child.
• Know your rights and available government services.
• Create a binder with information about your child's disorder.
• Find a local support group.
• Check out Web sites.
• Spend time educating yourself on your child's disorder.
• Prioritize the medical, behavioral and educational interventions that may be needed.
• Try only one new treatment at a time.
• Use a systematic approach to treatment.
• Learn about the therapist's training, the targeted behaviors as well as time, cost and possible side effects.
For more information, visit www.RileyHospital.org.
Program Director for the Riley Hospital for Children Christian Sarkine Autism Treatment Center at Indiana University Health and the HANDS in Autism Program