When your child is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, the feeling is overwhelming. From the sheer number of therapies available to specific diets that can help reduce symptoms, it’s difficult to choose which route to take to benefit your child. One thing is for sure, however. Therapy works. There is no cure for autism spectrum disorders, so treatment will become a permanent fixture of your life and your child’s life, but with the appropriate therapies you should see a reduction in symptoms and behavioral improvement. With a spectrum disorder, patients can have mild or severe symptoms, and therapy has to be customized to fit each patient. Some children may require additional therapies as well such as speech therapy or occupational therapy in addition to the behavioral and educational therapies patients typically need.
The most essential therapy for autism spectrum patients is behavior and communication therapy. ABA therapy addresses issues on a cause and effect basis. It studies a patient’s triggers, either internal or external, and helps to reduce those triggers or comes up with ways to counteract them with positive reinforcement. The goal is to increase positive behaviors and decrease negative behaviors. It can be applied at home, at school, or in public spaces. With ABA therapy, the therapist focuses on what they call the ABCs. The antecedent to the behavior, the behavior itself, and the consequence (positive for desired outcome, no reaction for undesirable outcome). With consistent application of ABA therapy methods, dramatic improvements can be made for patients with autism spectrum disorders, and can reduce stress for the patient and his or her caregivers.
When it comes to autism spectrum disorders, therapy isn’t just for the patient. Family therapy, where family members learn how to adequately deal with the disorder and apply ABA therapy methods, can really benefit both the patient and the family.