Treatment

At present autism refers to the disabilities that cannot be cured. But this does not mean that there is no hope for such kids. They are capable of learning and developing is proper support and assistance is provided. Surely enough, the whole process will require much more effort and in the first place from the side of the parents. If early measures are taken, it is possible for a kid to even become more or less independent.

Autism is not treated; therefore, the person will need constant treatment and supervision all the time. Among the most frequent treatments are occupational therapy and physical therapy as well as behavior modification and communication therapy together with some other methods such as speech-language therapy, applied behavior analysis (ABA), medications, diet changes, etc. However the optimal results can be achieved when a combination of techniques is used in accordance to the individual requirements of a kid.

One of the therapies used is ABA, or applied behavior analysis. This technique is applied to the kids that suffer from an autism spectrum disorder. It aims at developing different skills so that a child could function more or less normally. However this is a very expensive practice and, therefore, cannot be implemented broadly in public educational establishments. It presupposes special environment at home for a kid and it is also required that a supervisor such as a behavioral psychologist was constantly around. Not all parents can afford such expenditures.

TEACCH, or the Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children, is also used to help kids with autism. This program works with picture schedules and visual cues. Creating a familiar visual environment helps a child to function more independently and normally. This therapy is different from ABA in a way that it has no aims at achieving results that can be compared to the ones of a healthy child. It is directed more to the improvement of skills and helping with adaptation process in the first place. However, like ABA programs, it is also used for kids with autism spectrum disorders. It was implemented as a statewide program in North Carolina.

Autism symptoms are also treated with medications. As long as these symptoms are generally the ones that people with emotional problems have (such as anxiety, irritability, hyperactivity, problems with attentions, mood swings, tantrums, sleep problems and etc.), they are treated with the medications that cure these symptoms. The most commonly used are antidepressants, benzodiazepines, antipsychotic medications and stimulants. It should be taken into consideration that these medicines can have different effect individually and that adverse effects are pretty frequent.

At the present moment among all the medications only risperidone is approved for the treatment of children with autism ages 5 - 16 for who are the irritable and aggressive. However unfortunately there have not been yet discovered any cure that can prevent autism.

Autism cannot be caused by any diet or by using of some supplements or dietary modifications for treating the disease. Diet changing or using of vitamin supplements can enhance digestion and help to cope with food allergies or intolerances, which might be responsible for certain behavioral problems noticed in patients with autism. Some autistic kids might appear to react to a casein-free and gluten-free diet. Gluten is present in food which contains barley, rye and wheat. Casein is present in dairy products such as cheese, milk and so on. Not all doctors think that diet changes can help and make a difference. Actually not all studies on this issue have had positive results.

In fact, according to the researches vitamin B, magnesium (which is known to enhance vitamin B effects), in combination with supplements of cod liver oil (which has vitamins D, A) might enhance eye contact, behavior, learning and attention span in children with autism. It has been shown that vitamin C is useful in coping with depression and mitigating the symptoms in autistic patients.

If you think to implement some diet alterations, you should talk to a dietitian and a gastroenterologist (specialist in the digestive system).

You should know that there are many treatments which are widely publicized however they don’t have necessary scientific support.   If your kid suffers from autism, you should talk with autism experts and parents whose children are autistic. It would be useful to follow the researches in this sphere as they are developing very fast.

Generally, the majority of patients with autism live to senior age and some of them develop certain degree of independence. However still most of them will need constant supervision and assistance.