This blog is an introduction to popular methods and treatment plans used in dealing with the symptoms of autism.
With autism circumfusing a wide spectrum, there just isn’t a one-size-fits-all treatment plan. As discussed in the previous blog, the underlining conditions might reflect some similarities, like language difficulties or the inability to communicate and socialise, difficulty in relating to the world like atypical children do, and hyper/hypo sensitivity to stimuli. But some children need other very specific treatments regarding their condition and severity.
For instance some children have comorbid conditions. It isn’t rare to see kids with autism also have AD/HD or epilepsy, eating disorders and almost always the pervasive, ubiquitous anxiety and depression. In fact, the omnipresence of the latter two are quite quintessential off-shoot characteristics of autism, given the frustration they face every day trying to grapple with the neuro-typical world and get on in it.
So some of the basic things you will find most people with autism following would be:
- Medication to deal with certain symptoms of autism (most typically for anxiety, depression or compulsive behaviour, although tagging along are side-effects like weight gain, insomnia etc. and sometimes the interference of one medication’s effects with another)
- Speech therapy (even for those who have an extensive vocabulary, meaningful communication can be wanting; non-verbal communication is also dealt with here)
- Special schools have staff trained to deal with children with autism, and other conditions, thereby supporting them better and allowing them more space to find their fulcrum. While children on the lower end of the autistic scale can go to regular schools, not all main-school teachers are equipped to handle these children, either from lack of knowledge of the condition or simply because of the strict, tight and non-indulgent schedules that are run.
- Pivotal Response Treatment is adopted by speech therapists, special schools and psychologists to teach language, lessen disruptive or self-stimulatory behaviour (stimming) and augment sociability, communication and academic skills by leveraging on certain pivotal behaviours that in turn affect a wider range of behaviours.
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Occupational Therapy (building a strong and positive mental stance to cope with everyday things, breaking up problems into smaller tasks and harnessing the preponderance of these smaller, simplified, puissant activities to improve focus, complete a chore or just build on a strong points.
- Brain-Function Training (neurofeedback put literally) is a relatively newer method that – while it isn’t a treatment per se – is beginning to be used more frequently for autism. It helps immensely for children comorbidly suffering from AD/HD or epilepsy (the better uses of its invention), depression and anxiety. It regulates the dysregulated brain and can also help with sleep, eating and mood disorders, thereby tackling multiple related issues at the root cause and just the symptoms.
To understand by example, follow the story of Adam Keimbatti (via the banner vide infra) as he traversed the many trials and errors of finding a solution that suited his needs.