Autism spectrum disorder is more widespread than some might believe.One in 59 children in the United States is identified as falling somewhere on the autistic spectrum. The disorder occurs across all socio-economic groups, all races, and all ethnicities, and as diagnostics are refined, more children are discovered to be in need of diagnosis and treatment. ASD is commonly presented as a disorder more likely to be found in boys than in girls, but this is not true.Screenings miss many signs of autism particularly in girls on the higher functioning end of the spectrum or in toddlers. Early diagnosis is critical for beginning treatment, and girls in toddlers may receive false negatives that end up delaying their treatment.
Many Treatment Options
Treatment options need to be coordinated as children on the spectrum may have comorbid medical issues such as epilepsy, digestive disorders, and sleep disorders. Comorbid mental health issues include anxiety and depression, especially during adolescence as their bodies and behaviors change and social situations become complex and confusing. There are many therapies available, and individualized treatment plans are necessary.
- Behavioral therapy addresses the difficulties many autistic children experience with the social interaction, language, and behavior. Autistic children do well with structure and predictability, but life is not always structured or predictable. Therapy can help them to navigate and handle situations that fall outside of their daily norms.
- Communication therapy helps children to organize and communicate their thoughts and emotions in a healthy way. Autistic children may have trouble communicating and become frustrated, which leads to acting out without understanding how acting out further isolates them.
- Education encompasses everything from schooling to learning basic life skills that will help them to live independent lives. Individualized education plans are a critical tool for socializing autistic children, giving them the skills and education they need to succeed.
- Family therapy is a must because autism impacts an entire family. Parents and siblings need to know how to interact with the autistic child, how to understand their own feelings and emotions, and to make them part of the family social life.
- Physical therapy helps the child to work past issues with movement and balance, and can also be an enriching experience when grouped with others.
- Medication is frequently needed to control various aspects of autistic spectrum disorder. Hyperactivity, behavioral problems, depression, and anxiety may require treatment with ADHD drugs, antipsychotics, antidepressants, and other medications.
Parents Need Support, Too
With all of the special needs the autistic child, parents should not neglect their own well-being. Your family needs a support system not only for the child, but for parents and family members as you navigate autism treatment options, education, and all the needs of a growing child. While there are resources available online, counseling helps with the perception of isolation, anxiety, and depression that is common among people raising special needs children. Society as a whole can be less than understanding, and even blame the parents for their child’s disorder and behavior. You are your child’s greatest advocate and defender, but even a parent needs help for themselves. Contact to autism treatment center near by you.