As any parent of a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) knows, if you have met one child with ASD, you have met one child with ASD.
No two children with ASD are the same — which means there is not one gold standard treatment for ASD. Different treatments affect each child differently.
When it comes to psychiatric symptoms and conditions like ASD, clinicians do not determine treatment based on the diagnosis alone. Everyone with ASD has his or her own unique challenges. That means treatment is based primarily on addressing each individual’s distinct core symptoms.
While there are currently no medications that can cure ASD or treat the core symptoms (e.g., social impairments) of ASD, behavioral interventions can address these symptoms. Further, there are many treatments available to help improve your child’s quality of life and reach his or her fullest potential.
Specialists at the AARTS Center at Rush will help you set goals for your child. They will then connect you to resources and treatments that may help your child reach these goals.
Here are some of the therapies that may help your child:
Early intervention can have a significant, positive impact on children. These therapies focus on building communication, physical and social skills early on.
Early intervention is typically available through the state up to age three, at which time services transition to the school district.
This treatment works on changing children’s behavior to help improve how they function socially, emotionally and personally.
Some types of behavioral therapy that can be particularly effective in your child’s treatment plan may include one or more of the following:
- Social skills groups that focus on specific social behaviors
- Individual therapy (e.g., cognitive behavioral therapy, skills training)
- Executive function training and support
- Positive behavior support
- Anxiety and/or depression management
- Sexuality education and relationships groups
ASD touches all aspects of your family life. Family therapy can help you and your family learn to live with ASD and work together to find a new normal.
Some family therapies that may help your family include the following:
- Parent training
- Parent support groups
- Supportive psychotherapy
- Couples counseling
- Sibling support groups
Medication and medication management
The clinicians at the AARTS Center at Rush are conservative about medication. While they are serious about treating symptoms, they strive to do so with the least amount of medication possible. However, sometimes medication may help improve your child’s quality of life. In these cases, an important part of your child’s treatment plan will be carefully monitoring how these medications are working and any side effects.
ASD experts at the AARTS Center at Rush can work closely with school districts to help schools work with families and students of all ages ASD.
Some techniques that can be particularly helpful for students with ASD include the following:
- Structured teaching techniques that include visual support strategies, sensory integration and other interventions specific to the way children with ASD learn
- Environmental manipulation to cater a child’s unique learning process
- Self-help and independence skills