Autism is on the rise. Many children are diagnosed with the condition before the age of three. Many professionals are still trying to find out what causes Autism, while others are trying to figure out how best to treat it. There are common denominators that many professionals tend to agree on in terms of how to treat a child or individual that is on the Autism Spectrum. Below are some of the common denominators that we have seen overall in treatment of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
1. Early intervention: Many researchers agree that early interventions such as Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy are a crucial piece to the treatment of Autism. While the ideal age to start services has not been narrowed down, professionals can agree that the earlier a child can start treatment the better. This is mainly due to the fact that Autism involves developmental impairments. Consistent treatment provided at an early age can help the child build up the necessary executive functioning to be able to handle more advanced social, academic, and behavioral tasks (Towle, Patrick, Ridgard, Pham, and Marrus, 2020).
2. Parental Support: Many parents are at a loss when it comes to being a caregiver for a child with Autism. Because Autism is a developmental disorder, many children struggle with learning tasks that other children would be able to learn without much difficulty (i.e. writing their name, tying their shoes, dressing themselves). Other times, children with autism struggle consistently with following directives that their parents give them, or showing severe behaviors such as biting themselves, punching their classmates, etc. This can leave parents in a quandary and very stressed due to not feeling adequate enough to handle their child’s behaviors. Many ABA services provide parental guidance training in order to help the parent develop the necessary skills to effectively care for their child with autism (Michael Weinberg, Neta Gueta, Jacob Weinberg, Mays Abu Much, Ashraf Akawi, Rajech Sharkia, Muhammad Mahajnah, 2012).
3. Support from teachers in the classroom: Many students with Autism face ongoing challenges in the classroom. Many children on the spectrum tend to be at a loss on how to deal with social situations in addition to academic assignments. This of course can lead to an increase in behaviors inside and outside of the classroom. Teacher support in the classroom can provide the student a sense of reassurance that their classroom is a safe place to be in addition to a place where they can succeed (Mickaël Jury, Anne-Laure Perrin, Caroline Desombre, Odile Rohmer (2021)).
4. The importance of community personnel: As stated before, autism does not just affect behavior. It can also affect the development of crucial components of development such as speech, fine motor, or gross motor skills. Many children who are diagnosed with autism end up receiving speech therapy of some kind due to being delayed in their communication skills in addition to occupational therapy. In addition to ABA therapy, counseling or psychotherapy may be necessary in order to help the individual learn how to cope effectively with anxiety that comes from change as well as depression (Dieckhaus, Hardy, Anthony, Verbalis, Kenworthy, and Pugliese, (2021)).
Because Autism involves so many different developmental components, it is necessary to have an effective team that takes all of these necessary elements. Without all of these parts moving together, the chances of the child being able to function confidently may be significantly reduced. Yes, Autism can’t be cured, but there are ways to cope with it. With an effective team and effective treatments, the chances of functioning as well as successfully navigating social situations are increased over time.