How to treat autism? There’s no cure for autism, but several approaches can help to improve social functioning, learning, and quality of life for both children and adults with autism. Remember that autism is a spectrum-based condition. Some people may need little to no treatment, while others may require intensive therapy in order to treat autism.
It’s also important to keep in mind when talking about how to treat autism, that a lot of the research about autism treatment focuses on children. This is largely because existing research suggests that treatment on how to treat autism is most effective when started before age 3. That being said, research also shows that Applied Behaviour Analysis can be effective when started later in childhood, and experience tells us that it can be a helpful intervention throughout an individual’s life span.
Applied behavior analysis
Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is one of the most widely used autism treatments on how to treat autism, for both adults and children. It is also the only intervention backed by research showing that it is more effective for children with autism than any other intervention or a mixture of other interventions. All the methods used within ABA are also research-based, and in fact one of the ethical obligations of a good ABA practitioner is to use methods that are research-based, thus ensuring a high standard of quality to its recipients.
There are several types of ABA, including:
- Discrete trial training. This technique uses a series of trials to encourage step-by-step learning encouraging ways in how to treat autism. Correct behaviors and answers are rewarded, and mistakes are ignored.
- Early intensive behavioral intervention. Children, generally under the age of five, work one-on-one with a therapist or in a small group. It’s usually done over the course of several years to help a child develop communication skills and reduce problematic behaviors, including aggression or self-harm.
- Pivotal response training. This is a strategy used in someone’s everyday environment that teaches pivotal skills very important when looking at how to treat autism, such as the motivation to learn or initiate communication.
- Verbal behavior intervention. A therapist works with someone to help them understand why and how humans use language to communicate and get things they need.
- Positive behavior support. This involves making environmental changes to the home or classroom in order make good behavior feel more rewarding.
All of these explanations are simplifications of what we at The Star Academy have come to know as the huge toolbox of methods, procedures and prompts to help each child learn in the most efficient way possible. We also advocate exploration into the biomedical approach on how to treat autism, in conjunction with a certified biomedical practitioner, because children who feel good learn better.