Interventions For Autism

18 hours ago 236 Reads 6 min read
Asees Kaur
Special Education

01 Feb 2021
Everything about Interventions For Autism

Autism is also known as an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a complex condition involving communication and behavior problems. People suffering from autism have trouble communicating and so they can't understand what other people think and feel. People with autism may have problems in learning and so their skills may develop unevenly. 

According to a report, in India about 1 in 100 children under 10 years of age have autism. 

child suffering from autism

What causes autism?

Autism is a problem that is four times more in boys than girls. It can occur in people of any race or social background and it is not affected by educational level, lifestyle, or family income. 

The following are the causes of autism

  1. Genetic mutations 
  2. Being born to older parents
  3. Low birth weight
  4. A history of viral infections
  5. Metabolic imbalances
  6. Exposure to heavy metals and environmental toxins
  7. Fragile X syndrome and other genetic disorders

Autism signs and symptoms

The common symptoms of autism are 

  1. Decreased eye contact
  2. Not looking at other people
  3. Not seeing those things when another person sees them
  4. A narrow range of interest or intense interest in certain subjects
  5. High sensitivity to sounds, touches, smells, or sightseeing that seem normal to others
  6. Doing something repeatedly, such as repeating words or phrases
  7. Singing, flat, or talking in a robot's voice
  8. Trouble to change the routine
  9. Problems in the understanding or use of speech, gestures, facial expressions

1. Autism spectrum disorders

The following are the types that fall under the range of autism spectrum disorders. 

2. Asperger's syndrome

These children have no language problems, but they have social problems and a narrow scope of interests. They score in the intelligence tests average or above-average category.

3. Autistic disorder

This is when most people hear the word autism. It refers to the problems in children younger than 3 years such as social interaction, communication, and play problems.
4. Childhood disintegrative disorder

These children have specific development for at least 2 years and after that, they lose their communication and social skills.

5. Pervasive developmental disorder (PDD or atypical autism)

The doctor uses this term if any child has some autistic behaviour, like delays in social and communications skills, but does not fit into any other category.

Types of treatments

The following are the treatments that are available for autism disorders.

  1. Behaviour and Communication Approaches
  2. Dietary Approaches
  3. Medication
  4. Complementary and Alternative Medicine

1. Behaviour and Communication Approaches:

Behavioural and communication approaches are used to help children with ASD  that provide direction, structure, and organization for the child in addition to family involvement. 

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA): ABA is widely used in many treatment clinics and schools. It discourages negative behaviours and encourages positive behaviour to improve a wide variety of skills. The following are the types of ABA:

  1. Discrete Trial Training (DTT)
  2. Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI)
  3. Early Start Denver Model (ESDM)
  4. Pivotal Response Training (PRT)
  5. Verbal Behavior Intervention (VBI)

 Assistive Technology: Assistive technologies such as communication boards and devices such as electronic tablets can help people suffering from ASD to communicate and interact with others. The person is taught to use picture symbols to ask and answer questions and some may use a tablet as a communication or speech-generating device. Developmental, Individual Differences, Relationship-Based Approach: It is based on emotional and relational development and focuses on the healing process of the child with sounds, sights,  and smells.

Occupational Therapy: Occupational therapy teaches skills such as eating, dressing, bathing that help people to live independently as possible.

Social Skills Training: Social skills training teaches children skills such as including negotiation and problem-solving skills that they need while interacting with others.

Speech Therapy: Speech therapy is used to improve the communication skills of a person. Some people can learn oral communication skills while for others gestures or picture boards are more realistic.

2. Dietary Approaches:

Some biomedical interventions ask for a change in diet that includes using vitamin or mineral supplements and removing certain foods from the child's diet. This treatment is based on the idea that the lack of minerals and vitamins causes ASD. Also, some parents feel that a change in diet can also make a difference in how their child functions or feels.

So you should make sure that your child's diet contains the minerals and vitamins that are necessary for their growth and development.

3. Medication:

There are no medications to treat the main symptoms of ASD but these medications can help people to function better with ASD problems. It can help to manage anxiety and depression, inability to concentrate, behavioural reactivity, self-injury. 

Medications affect children differently so parents should work with a healthcare professional who is treating children suffering from ASD. 

4. Complementary and Alternative Medicine Treatments:

Some parents and healthcare professionals use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments that are recommended by pediatricians. CAM treatment involves mind-body medicine, special diets, dietary supplements external icons rather than traditional medicine. You should talk to your child's doctor before starting these treatments because some treatments have not been studied for effectiveness.

5. Diagnosis and Risk Factors 

There is no medical test to diagnose this disorder but it is observed by the talking and acting behaviour of the child in comparison to the other same-age children. If you notice that your child is not developing normally then you should take him to the primary care provider who diagnoses this disorder by talking with the child.

The following are the risk factors in your child for autism spectrum disorder in young children:

  1. Being alone and avoiding eye contact
  2. Being upset by minor changes
  3. Unusual and sometimes intense reactions to the way things smell, taste, feel and/or see 
  4. No response to  his/her  name until the age of 12 months 

Conclusion:

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complicated developmental condition involving persistent challenges and restrictive/repetitive behaviour in social interaction, speech, and nonverbal communication. The effects of ASD and the severity of symptoms vary from person to person. Some children facing autism spectrum disorder continue to compensate for problems throughout their lives but some also need support at some level.

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