Autism therapy is a variety of treatment methods that are designed to help people with autism overcome their challenges and improve their quality of life. The types of treatments vary by person, but the goals are always the same: to improve functioning and reduce symptoms.
Some therapies are more common than others, but it’s important to do your research and talk with experts before you decide what will work best for your child. This is especially true if you’re going to spend money out of pocket on autism therapy.
Applied behavioral analysis (ABA) is an effective treatment for many children with autism. It uses reinforcement strategies to improve social skills and communication. It also helps kids with self-injury, like hitting themselves, and other behaviors that may be hard to control in a typical school setting. It’s controversial, however, and some parents and autistic self-advocates are skeptical of its effectiveness.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is another type of psychological approach that can help people with autism overcome mental health problems. During CBT, a psychologist works with the individual to change how they think about a situation so that they are better able to handle their feelings and emotions.
Relationship development intervention is a family-based approach that teaches children with autism to build relationships with their parents and other members of the family. RDI also helps children develop flexible thinking, a skill that can be difficult for people with autism to master.
Speech therapy is a crucial part of treating autism because many people with autism have trouble using their words to communicate with other people. It can help a person learn to say the right sounds, produce sentences in standard form, and speak with empathy and understanding.
Sensory integration therapy targets the difficulties that some children with autism have processing certain sensory triggers, such as loud noises, lights, textures and tastes. This therapy can help a child learn how to cope with these triggers and respond calmly when they happen in the future.
Physical therapy is another treatment option that can help a child with autism improve their physical abilities. This can include fine motor skills, such as drawing with the thumb and fingers, and larger body movements, such as walking. PTs also use a variety of exercises to teach a child how to interact with other children in physical play.
Arts therapy can also help a child with autism build social skills. During this therapy, the child works on music, visual arts, acting and dancing, or other activities that interest them. Often, these activities are low cost or free and take place in places such as museums, schools, or theaters.
Other forms of alternative and complementary treatments are also popular among individuals with autism and their families. These can include special diets, herbal supplements, chiropractic care, animal therapy, mindfulness and relaxation therapies, and more.
Some autism treatments are based on unproven theories that are not supported by evidence. These treatments may sound promising, but in the end, they can be dangerous or even harmful to a person with autism.