If your child has autism, then it can be a scary and confusing experience. It is your responsibility as the parent to learn about what treatments are available and to help avail them to your child. You want you child to have the best chance of improving their social skills, so it's vital that you leave no stone unturned when it comes to the different therapies. Here are 4 treatment options for autism that you should consider.
Animal therapy is a bit controversial, but there have been positive results documented. Many parents of autistic children who have pets in the household have found that their child formed a close attachment to the pet. There is also research that suggests that autistic children that grew up with pets had better social development. If you can't have a pet in your household for whatever reason, then you can look into special programs where you visit an animal. One popular method involves horse interactions. These equine therapy programs are supervised and there are trained counselors who work with your child and the horse.
There is a popular diet called the GFCF (gluten free/casein free) that has become very popular with parents of autistic people. The idea is to eliminate all gluten (proteins found in breads) and casein (protein found in dairy) because these proteins might affect the autistic person's brain and worsen symptoms. There have not been many long term studies, but there is a lot of anecdotal evidence on the internet (in forums frequented by parents of autistic children) that you can research.
Applied Behavior Analysis
Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is one of the most popular treatment options. It is approved by the Surgeon General and other leading medical authorities. The basics of ABA are very simple. A certified trainer will sit with the autistic child and go through a series of task/response actions. If the task is satisfactorily completed, then either a concrete reward or a positive response will be given. It the child does not complete the task, then the certified trainer will either remain silent and wait for the child to do the task or they will repeat the instruction again. It is very simple in practice and parents can learn how to do it at home. This will help parents communicate with their autistic child in a more productive and non-frustrating manner.
Autistic children often have trouble speaking. They might not speak at all, or they might speak too much. They will also often have trouble using the correct terms for objects. A speech therapist will work with helping to teach the child the proper speech etiquette. This might include not repeating words over-and-over, or correcting long pauses. The therapist will also help the child learn how to properly identify objects by showing them a desirable object (toy or cookie) and then only handing it over once they have correctly identified the object in an appropriate manner.
For more information on autism treatments, talk to a professional.