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 t
All rights reserved