A new report says an estimated one in every 66 Canadian children and youth aged five to 17 has autism spectrum disorder.
The report by the Public Health Agency of Canada, released on Thursday, is the first detailing the national prevalence of the neurodevelopmental disorder and is in line with estimates in the United States.
The prevalence of autism becomes more complicated for lack of solid treatment goals. Many parents and caregivers are unaware of the intervention options available for autism.
Upon diagnosis, a child should start a treatment program immediately. Early intervention increases the chances for improved outcomes in most young patients with autism. The brain responds more intensively to treatment when it’s still young and is most able to adapt to change.
No one single intervention program covers the treatment goals for autism. However, any effective program should incorporate a combination of therapies. The interventions should strive to engage the child’s special interests.
Each intervention strategy should comprise a series of simple steps. The child should be being given regular positive reinforcement. Where there’s parental involvement in the treatment interventions, a lot of improvement has been recorded.
Keep on reading to learn more!
Common Autism Treatment Options
It’s important to find the right organizations that offer treatment interventions for autism. This company holds that treatment goals for autism are best achieved where there’s compassionate care. A child in its natural environment responds more positively to treatment.
Treatment is also more effective if therapists are passionate about exceptional results. Some of the most common treatment interventions for autism are as follows.
1. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)
The approach is best used to provide support and treatment to Autism Spectrum Disorder patients. It also applies to patients with developmental and behavioral disabilities. Therapists provide treatment to clients either in a health center, at home or within the community.
The treatment goals for autism in using ABA therapy are to engage the child’s intrinsic motivation for learning. A child’s innate interest in a subject is aroused to encourage a child to learn more about that area of interest. A behavioral therapist utilizes a child’s interest to make learning more rewarding.
One advantage of Applied Behavior Analysis is that it encourages appropriate behaviors. It also increases communication. In this approach, therapists reward good behavior to reinforce it.
They also punish unwanted behaviors in an attempt to eradicate them. ABA therapy applies in schools and clinical settings. It’s useful in helping patients integrate various capacities.
Their emotional, social, and intellectual skills become enhanced to work in coordination. It’s more than just focusing on isolated behaviors and abilities. It also encourages the child to be more aware of their environment.
2. Speech Therapy
A child with Autism Spectrum Disorder has several developmental challenges. They include difficulties with their speech, social communication, and language development. A patient with autism may:
- Not talk at all
- Babble with sounds with unclear words
- Lack an expressive tone of voice when they speak
- Echo what other people say
- Have a robotic-like speech
Approximately 33% of people with autism have trouble communicating effectively. Their language is usually hard to understand.
The treatment goals for autism in speech therapy are more than helping a child pronounce words the correct way. A speech therapist aims at developing a wide range of skills. Among them are non-verbal communication, speech pragmatics, and conversation skills.
Non-verbal communication entails gestural communication. This can be achieved through picture exchange cards. A therapist can also use electronic talking devices and other non-verbal communication tools.
Speech pragmatics refers to training in the context of speech.
A therapist will apply a back-and-forth exchange in teaching conversational skills. The approach is also known as “joint attention.” The aim is to make the child develop skills like eye contact during conversation.
The child must also learn how to hold a conversation. For more meaningful interactions, they must tune into both verbal and non-verbal cues. A child learns more than how to speak, but also how to use language to hold a conversation.
3. Occupational Therapy
People with autism lack the necessary personal and social skills for independent living. The goals for autism occupation therapy include:
- Providing interventions that help a child respond to sensory information through proper mental focus
- Developing adaptive techniques to cope with apparent disabilities
- Devising strategies that assist in moving from one setting to another
- Facilitating play activities for communication and interaction
Occupational therapy is essential for autistic children. This is because they exhibit various patterns of sensory processing. They are slower in integrating inputs coming from their senses.
As a result, their responses are much slower. Their mind lacks suitable filters to eliminate irrelevant information.
For example, a child may still be processing some noise they heard outside the classroom when they are presented with new input. This can result in sensory overload. Such overload shows through withdrawal, challenging behavior, or complete shutdown.
Through occupational therapy, it’s possible to develop simple strategies for use at home or in school. The aim is to enhance the sensory filters. Adding the appropriate filters helps the nervous become more organized. An organized nervous system brings attention and performance to the forefront.
An occupational therapist combines many holistic planning programs. They integrate the cognitive, social, physical, sensory, and emotional abilities and needs. A therapist will also focus on developing handwriting, daily living, and fine motor skills.
4. Dietary Interventions
Autism is a genetically predisposed condition with an environmental trigger. Some triggers include sensitivity to some types of food the patient consumes regularly.
Some common food triggers are gluten, corn, and nightshade vegetables. Others are soy and some food preservatives.
To establish if your child is sensitive to some types of food, have a food sensitivity test done. Treatment entails withdrawing the foods that cause a reaction from the patient’s diet. Some children become less moody, behave better, and are less sensitive to sensory triggers.
Goals for Autism – Final Thoughts
If you’re a parent or caregiver with a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder, learn about the various treatment options available. To achieve the goal for autism treatment and intervention, ensure to work with all-rounded therapists. Integrated treatment options provide for the holistic development of an autistic child.
For the best results for your child, become involved in the treatment plan to ensure reasonable goals for autism. A child who identifies with their primary caregiver responds to treatment faster.
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