Sunday, September 22, 2013

Treating Autism Early Makes a Difference


It’s a sad fact, but a baby born in the United States today has a 1 in 50 chance of being autistic. It seems that the rate has been rising steadily over the last couple of decades, although nobody knows why, so there is a good chance that the numbers will get even more serious down the road. This, of course, raises the question of the best way to treat autism.


It turns out that early autism therapy (EAT) makes a real difference. In fact, children with autism who start therapy before the age of 18 months have significantly better outcomes on average than those who start treatment later. This means that parents need to be able to spot the signs of autism in their children, including not speaking by the age of 18 months, failing to respond normally to gestures such as smiling, and showing an indifference to other children. If any of these symptoms are detected, it is important to get it checked out with a pediatrician.

Autism is not a single condition with a fixed set of symptoms. Some children may have a mild case – or even a related condition called Asperger’s. Others may have severe learning and language difficulties, or exhibit extreme and destructive behaviors. Therefore, it is essential to plan each child’s therapy individually to maximize the chances that they will respond positively. Many treatment centers and schools are now turning to autism therapy management software, which helps them to track each child’s progress individually, and to develop specific strategies based on this.

Since autism affects a child’s ability to communicate and their social skills, a significant amount of treatment is focused on helping them to communicate in a meaningful way with others, and to deal with social situations – something that autistic children often find difficult and stressful. In fact, autistic children don’t like change or situations where they encounter new things, and therapy has to take this into account as well. Treatment centers often put children in a highly regimented and predictable environment, since this makes the children more comfortable – and therefore more likely to progress. While this would not be good for normal children, it is for autistic ones – which highlights just how different their needs are.



Of course, autistic children don’t spend all their time in treatment centers – they spend the majority of their time with their family, and the family can play an incredibly important role in helping an autistic child cope with the world around them. However, parents need to learn the best ways to deal with their child, how to play with them, and how to interact with them socially. This can be one of the most difficult things for parents to cope with, since they have to learn a completely new way of dealing with children, and in many cases need to suppress their natural instincts. Because of this, it is important for parents of autistic children to get expert advice and support.