Navigation Links
Complexities of Autism Extend to Its Treatment
Date:5/27/2011

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, May 27 (HealthDay News) -- Parents of children with autism often find themselves struggling to make sense of their child's behavior.

What's worse, there's no single best way to treat the frightening and frustrating neurodevelopmental disorder. Children might have a mix of social impairments, communication problems and repetitive behavior patterns. Each child will require a certain blend of therapies, treatments and interventions, all specifically tailored to the child's particular behavioral problems.

"Every person with autism is different," said Lee Grossman, president and chief executive of the Autism Society. "There's a saying, 'If you've met one person with autism, then you've met one person with autism.'"

That means parents usually have to figure it out for themselves, with help from their medical team.

Experts agree on two basic principles when it comes to treating people with autism, according to the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health:

  • Early intervention is key to helping a child with autism find a healthy, happy and satisfying life.
  • People with autism respond best to programs and therapies that are highly structured and specialized to their needs.

"The earlier the child is diagnosed, and the better the quality and quantity of the programs they are in, the better their prognosis long-term," said James Ball, president and chief executive of JB Autism Consulting, in New Jersey, and chairman of the Autism Society's board of directors.

Many of the leading therapy options for autism are not medical and instead involve education and behavioral intervention.

Ball said that a type of behavioral therapy called applied behavioral analysis, which focuses on teaching useful skills that build upon each other, has helped many children with autism.

"It teaches things repetitively so a child can learn and then generalize those skills," he said.

For example, teaching children to brush their teeth would involve breaking down the activity into different skills -- squeezing out the toothpaste, brushing the teeth, rinsing the mouth -- that are repetitively taught and ultimately woven together. "You teach all the separate components up to the whole," Ball said.

Other children with the disorder might need speech therapy, occupational therapy or other forms of behavioral therapy, Grossman said. It all rests on finding a child's strongest and weakest areas and using their strengths to help them overcome their weaknesses.

Kids with autism will often have more success in these therapies if visual aids and cues are used, he said.

They often "have trouble with verbal instruction," Grossman said. "If you can provide a learning environment where they see the instrument and incorporate it into their activities, you'll have a better situation."

Children with autism also may benefit from medical interventions tailored to their symptoms. Medication can be used to treat such autism-related symptoms as seizures, depression, anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Kids with severe behavioral problems sometimes benefit from antipsychotic drugs.

Some parents have found that a dietary intervention can help their child, according to the mental health institute. One particular diet that has proven successful for some children involves removing all gluten and casein from their food. Casein is the main source of protein in milk, and gluten is a protein found in wheat and other grains.

Parents also should make sure their child is healthy and not suffering from illnesses that could exacerbate their behavioral problems. "We would encourage all families to get a comprehensive medical exam" for their child, Grossman said.

Health problems such as rashes, gastrointestinal disorders, allergies, asthma and the like can create discomfort and throw children off their beneficial therapies. "These are typically overlooked with a child with autism because they are often nonverbal and noncompliant," Grossman said. "The doctor may miss some other treatable conditions."

Families with an autistic child also should understand that every member will need help and should consider undergoing regular family counseling, Ball said.

"It is a whole-family disorder," he said. "Everyone is affected. Families need to come up with a plan so they can meet everyone's needs."

Finding resources can be challenging, Ball and Grossman said. Grossman knows that firsthand as he has child with autism, who now is 23.

"I was very angry and very frustrated because I couldn't find any help," he recalled. "I didn't know what to do." But he said that the group he now runs, the Autism Society, was key in helping him find doctors and therapists to help his son.

Grossman also speaks from personal knowledge when he says that the best way to help children with autism is to pay attention to how they act and what draws their interest and to then use that knowledge to teach them life skills.

"The goal here is to have a person who has a satisfying quality of life and is a contributing member of their community," Grossman added. "With the proper supports, we believe everyone can achieve that."

More information

Autism Speaks has more on autism.

A companion article looks at living with autism, from one family's perspective.

SOURCES: Lee Grossman, president and chief executive, Autism Society; James Ball, Ed.D., president and chief executive, JB Autism Consulting, Cranbury, N.J.


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Unlocking the secret of beauty: Scientists discover the complexities of attractive female bodies
2. ICU communication study reveals complexities of family decision-making
3. Toys"R"Us, Inc. Expands its Support of Autism Speaks Throughout North America
4. Local Carrollton Center Hosting More than 50 Autism Experts from Coast-to-Coast
5. Autism-Related Hypersensitivity Better Understood
6. Autism Science Foundation Offers IMFAR Grants to Autism Stakeholders
7. Another Study Refutes Vaccination-Autism Link
8. Bonding Hormone Might Help Some With Autism
9. Autisms earliest symptoms not evident in children under 6 months
10. True Signs of Autism May Not Appear Until 1st Birthday
11. Court Orders Reinstatement of Vital, Cost-Saving Treatment for Children With Autism
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Complexities of Autism Extend to Its Treatment
(Date:1/20/2017)... ... January 20, 2017 , ... “The Angel”: a heartwarming and ... out for each of his children. “The Angel” is the creation of published author, ... New York City, and impassioned writer. , When asked of her new book, Marjorie ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... , ... January 20, 2017 , ... “I Forgive You”: a fine examination of ... Forgive You” is the creation of published author, Stephen Miller, who, for over ten long ... gracefully given to him. Born in Trinidad and Tobago, he has been serving the Lord ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... ... January 20, 2017 , ... “Christmas in Suffolk”: a ... author, Sara Seymour, who lives in Lafayette, Indiana where she works in a daycare ... coffees and writes. , Published by Christian Faith Publishing, Sara Seymour’s new book is ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... ... January 20, 2017 , ... “Knowledge is God’s Lighthouse”: ... by faith. “Knowledge is God’s Lighthouse” is the creation of published author, Gene Gaapf, ... and poetry collections. , “I have been writing since high school and have ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... ... January 20, 2017 , ... “God's Miracle Man: Against All ... is the creation of published author, Keith C. A. Tucker, son of Minister Delores ... World Outreach pastured by Reverend Mark Hardy , “While sitting up in bed, I ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:1/20/2017)... 20, 2017 Research and Markets has ... Type ([CBC, HGB/HCT, BMP, BUN Creatinine, Electrolyte Testing, HbA1c Testing, Comprehensive ... Segment Forecasts, 2013 - 2024" report to their offering. ... The global clinical ... 2024 Introduction of innovative solutions on the grounds of ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... , Jan. 20, 2017  Palladian Health, a ... announced the launch of an opioid management program ... on opioids and helps stem the growing tide ... prescribed to treat chronic non-cancer pain (back pain, ... risks and lack of evidence regarding long-term effectiveness. ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... YORK , Jan. 19, 2017 ... USD 233.7 billion by 2025, according to a ... market is anticipated to be predominantly driven by ... resulting into the large-scale production of new and ... the influx of drugs at an unprecedented rate ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: