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How is Autism Treated?

It is important that interventions begin as early as possible following a diagnosis of Autism. Autism is a lifelong disability, therefore early intervention can help to maximise an individual's skills and enable them to achieve their full potential as adults.

There is no one standard treatment for Autism, however, appropriate specialist education, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and behavioural management strategies all play an important role in supporting individuals with Autism.

Medication may sometimes be recommended for someone with Autism, for example to help to control any seizures or depression.

Structured, behaviour-based programmes are common amongst individuals with autism. These generally include:

  • Clear instructions provided to the child
  • Prompting to perform specific behaviours
  • Immediate praise/rewards if the specific behaviours are performed
  • Gradual increase in the complexity of the reinforced behaviours
  • Clear distinctions of when and when not to perform different behaviours

It is important that the parents/carers of the child involved are educated in the behavioural techniques and any strategies from therapy so that they can encourage the interventions within the home environment.

Due to the nature of Autism, the child will require vast amounts of the parent's attention, which may negatively affect other children in the family. It is important that the family have the option of counselling and support services available to them.

The outlook for each Autistic child will depend on the severity to which the symptoms affect them and also their intelligence and language ability. Some are able to become independent adults whilst others