Autism spectrum disorder treatment
The amount of progress that can be expected in autism spectrum disorder treatment is still a topic of debate, however there is much evidence supporting effective autism treatment. The synergy between various therapies, as well as biomedical interventions have also proven effective in autism treatment.
In South Africa, medication tends to be used to treat specific behaviours related to autism such as hyperactivity, aggressive behaviour and sleep disorder. Autism affects individuals differently, so appropriate medication is used for specific reasons.
A more functional approach to medical treatment in autism has shown to optimise outcome much more effectively. Biochemical assessment and supplementative therapies in autism treatment are being researched and applied with positive benefit. An example of effective therapy in autism treatment is Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA). ABA therapy applies our understanding of how behaviour works to real situations. The goal is to increase behaviours that are helpful and decrease behaviours that are harmful or affect learning. ABA therapy programs can help increase language and communication skills, improve attention, focus, social skills, memory, and academics as well as decrease problem behaviours. ABA therapy programs are child specific and tailor made to suit individual child needs. This has proven to be highly effective in autism treatment. Almost half of children who receive Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention (EIBI) will recover from autism, meaning that they will achieve scores in the normal range on standardised assessments, function independently in a mainstream setting, and be indistinguishable from neurotypically-developing peers.
Dietary intervention may be appropriate to address certain symptoms or disease in autistic patients. Some children demonstrate an improvement when dietary restrictions are implemented. There are many dietary interventions that are associated with alleviation of autism symptoms, an example of a particular one is the gluten free diet. The Gluten Free diet is the removal of all wheat protein (gluten), and milk protein from the diet.
Many parents and physicians have found that implementing the gluten free diet relieves many of the symptoms associated with autism spectrum disorders. The benefit of a gluten-free/casein-free diet is based on the theory that children with autism may have an allergy or high sensitivity to foods containing gluten or casein. The idea behind the use of the diet is to reduce symptoms and improve social and cognitive behaviours and speech.
The use of vitamins in autism spectrum disorder treatment is also one which should not be overlooked. There are several reasons to suspect that children on the autism spectrum may not be getting sufficient nutrients, including chronic diarrhoea or constipation, gastrointestinal inflammation, and a tendency to restrict food choices. In addition, the possibility exists that children with autism do not break down or process the nutrients they do consume in expected ways.
Mega-vitamin therapy and other nutritional supplements are common in autism treatment. It is important to consult with a biomedical professional when considering dietary and medical changes for your child.
Contact The Star Academy, South Africa’s leaders in autism spectrum disorder treatment.