Treating Autism

Every person with autism is different, and treatment should be individualized for the best results. Today’s autism treatments are typically a combination of behavioral and medicinal therapies; many children and adults with learning disabilities related to autism have additional medical issues. Therapy is most effective if started early, and it should involve the entire family working in tandem with a professional team. The type of support changes as the patient grows and develops; here you’ll learn more about the various types of autism care and treatment.

Early Intervention Therapy

There are two behavioural methods which have been proven effective in the treatment of autism: the Lovaas model and the Early Start Denver Model. Other therapies are anecdotally supported; Floortime, Verbal Behaviour Therapy and Pivotal Response Therapies are commonly used in children. Studies show that early intervention greatly improves social, communicative and learning skills in children. Therapy programs vary, but have certain things in common, such as:

  • They all provide at least 25 hours/week of treatment.
  • Treatments are delivered by trained teachers and/or therapists. Paraprofessionals can help with close supervision by someone having expertise in autism care.
  • Therapy is objective-driven, and progress is regularly measured and recorded.
  • Intervention focuses on areas such as social, linguistic and communicative development, motor and play skills and daily living.
  • Patients all get the chance to interact with typical peers.
  • Parents are actively involved in the process from decision-making to delivery.
  • The family and patient’s needs and values are respected.


Can Someone “Grow Out of” Autism?

There’s mounting evidence which shows that a small percentage of people can progress to a point where they’re no longer considered to be on the autism spectrum. There are a few theories as to why: the initial diagnosis could be inaccurate, successful treatment could have produced a great outcome, and sometimes patients do mature out of the ASD. In some cases, a child diagnosed with autism can score within the normal range on IQ, language and personality tests, but still exhibit mild symptoms as they age. Still others are later diagnosed with ADHD or a high functioning form of ASD such as Asperger’s.

As of now, we do not know how many people can or will progress to the point where they no longer meet the criteria for a diagnosis of autism. Further research is needed to pinpoint the physiological, developmental and genetic factors which predict who will have such a successful outcome. What we do know is that the highest levels of improvement are most often seen in patients who had intensive early therapy—but as of yet, we can’t predict which patients will respond best to such treatments.

If someone you love has been diagnosed with autism, they deserve the chance to develop meaningful, fulfilling relationships, and to go on to live an independent and productive live. With the treatments and therapies available today, people on the autism spectrum are realizing better outcomes each and every day.

Article Supplied by Amy Elliott for Voyage Care.

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