Early recognition and interventions are key to reducing symptoms and supporting development and learning for those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Behavioral therapies, such as applied behavioral analysis (ABA), are the most effective interventions available. Other therapeutic options include occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, and drug therapy. Complementary and alternative treatments, such as special diets, herbal supplements, chiropractic care, animal therapy, art therapy, mindfulness, or relaxation therapies may also be used.
The goal of treatment is to maximize a person's ability to function by reducing symptoms of ASD and supporting development and learning. Early intervention during the preschool years can help a child learn critical social, communication, functional, and behavioral skills. Play therapy can improve their social and emotional skills, help them think in different ways, increase their language or communication skills, and expand the ways they play with toys and interact with others. Occupational therapy helps people with autism improve their quality of life at home and at school by introducing, maintaining and improving skills so that they can be as independent as possible.
Speech therapy is a central part of treatment for autism as it helps children talk, as well as communicate and interact with others. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy that can be effective in helping children and adults. Social skills training (OSH) is a way for people to develop social skills. It is important to note that there is no cure for autism spectrum disorder and there is no one-size-fits-all treatment.
Many people with autism take medicines that reduce anxiety, increase concentration, or control aggression. However, be sure to work closely with your healthcare provider or doctor to monitor the effects of medicines. With all types of treatment (including medications), what works well for one person on the spectrum may not work well or may even be harmful to another person.