There are many therapies that have been proven beneficial for treating autism. As a child matures, different treatments may be more beneficial then others. It’s important to work with your team to determine the best action plan.
Each child will respond to therapy differently. Your child may find some therapies too stressful while others may not push your child hard enough. It’s important to find the right therapy that works for your child.
Here are the most popular therapies for treating Autism:
ABA Therapy: ABA, applied behavioral analysis, is simply the application of behavioral principles, to everyday situations, that will, over time, increase or decrease targeted behaviors. ABA has been used to help individuals acquire many different skills, such as language skills, self-help skills, and play skills; in addition, these principles can help to decrease maladaptive behaviors such as aggression, self-stimulatory behaviors, and self-injury.
Occupational Therapy: Occupational therapy services focus on enhancing participation in the performance of activities of daily living (e.g., feeding, dressing), instrumental activities of daily living (e.g., community mobility, safety procedures), education, work, leisure, play, and social participation. For an individual with an ASD, occupational therapy services are defined according to the person’s needs and desired goals and priorities for participation.
Speech Therapy: intervention to improve social communication and other language impairments and modify behaviors to improve an individual’s quality of life and increase social acceptance. Essential outcomes focus on improvements in social communication that affect the individual’s ability to develop relationships, function effectively, and actively participate in everyday life.
Relationship Development Intervention (RDI): RDI focuses on cultivating the building blocks of social connection—such as referencing, emotion sharing, coregulation, and experience sharing—that normally develop in infancy and early childhood. RDI is a family-based program, where trained consultants support families to alter their interaction and communication styles.
Floor Time: therapists and parents engage children through the activities each child enjoys. They enter the child’s games. They follow the child’s lead. Therapists teach parents how to direct their children into increasingly complex interactions.
Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT): a naturalistic intervention model derived from ABA approaches. Rather than target individual behaviors one at a time, PRT targets pivotal areas of a child’s development, such as motivation, responsivity to multiple cues, self-management, and social initiations.
Equine Therapy: Horses are used by physical, speech, and occupational therapists to reach their patients on a personal level through what is referred to as “hippotherapy.” Children with autism also benefit from equine therapy due to the motor, emotional, and sensory sensations that come with riding a horse.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT): Oxygen therapy promotes the growth of new blood vessels and has been shown effective in treating wounds that normally wouldn’t heal because of poor blood circulation. HBOT therapy usually entails multiple sessions of an hour or longer in a chamber inhaling 100% oxygen, which compares with 21% oxygen in regular air.