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Common Autism Treatments Reviewed | The Essential Guide To Autism

Common Autism Treatments Reviewed

Autism is a developmental disability that affects both children and adults with diagnosis normally within the first three years of a childs life.  Symptoms may be more pronounced in some than others and often affect both the social and communication abilities of the individual. When diagnosed with autism, the individual can benefit from many of the different treatment programs and educational programs available.

Here’s a brief overview of the high level categories that autism treatment fall into:

Biomedical
While there is no special drug to cure the symptoms, professionals, as well as parents, have found that some drugs used for other disorders can also help to alleviate some of the behavioral symptoms of autism. 

For example, Serotonin re-uptake inhibitors have been used to help treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and anxiety.  Through research it is found that there are elevated levels of serotonin in as many as one-third of those diagnosed with autism.  Drugs such as Anafranil, Lenox, and Prozac may be able to alleviate some of the symptoms of having high levels of serotonin, such as repetitive behaviors, irritability, and aggressive behavior.  Some researchers found that autistic children may show increased eye contact and may become more responsive to others when taking these drugs.

Your child’s physician may recommend other drugs, such as Ritalin, to help treat your child’s symptoms.  The main issue in treating the symptoms of autism with drugs is the potential side effects that may come along with certain medications.  As with any medication being taken, you will want to fully inform your child’s physician about any side effects you may notice. You should also be aware that children with autism may have a higher sensitivity to drugs, so the dosages should be monitored carefully and adjusted accordingly.

Vitamins
Many parents of autistic children, along with some professionals, feel that adjusting diet and adding vitamins will help to treat the symptoms associated with autism.  Research has proven that taking an increased amount of Vitamin C can help reduce the severity of symptoms, while others have shown that vitamin B and magnesium offer help with behavioral problems, improve eye contact, and increase attention span.  Due to malabsorption problems in those with autism, nutritional deficiencies may have an impact on how severe symptoms are.

Before starting your child on a vitamin program, your child’s physician should do an assessment of nutrition.  This will help them to find out what your child is lacking in vitamins and minerals to help to determine what they need and how it may help them.

Dietary Inteventions
People with autism sometimes have sensitivity to certain foods.  Consumption of some of these foods may also contribute to certain behaviors.  There are times when particular foods are restricted or removed from the diet altogether, that some of these behaviors can be alleviated.  

An example of this is gluten and casein, found in wheat, oats and rye and dairy products respectively. Researchers have found that if an autistic child has trouble breaking down the peptides of foods containing gluten and casein it may cause an upset of the biochemical and neurological processes of the brain.  By removing these foods from the diet, it can reduce some of the autistic symptoms.  Have a look at this website for more information on following a Gluten Free, Casein Free Diet http://www.gfcfdiet.com/

Behavioral
Due to the wide range of communication and behavioral symptoms that are associated with autism, there are a wide variety of behavioral treatments for individuals with autism.  Many of these behavioral treatments for children with autism are based on Applied Behavior Analysis.   This theory focuses on rewarding good behavior.  The main thing to consider when choosing a behavioral treatment program for your autistic child is to understand their learning style.  If your child is more visual, you may want to make sure the program is set up to assist your child in the way he or she learns best.

This has just been a brief overview of the types of treatments available for individuals diagnosed with autism.  Because autism is unique in the sense that the symptoms vary according to the extent and severity, you and your child’s physician will need to find a treatment program that works best for them.  There are a lot of programs available however, what is right for one child may be wrong for another.  Before starting your child in any program, do your research first to find the suitable approach.


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One Response

  1. linda jones
    June 16th, 2006 | 7:33 am

    THE INFORMATION IS VERY HELPFUL. I HAVE A FRIEND WITH AN AUTISTIC CHILD. I’M INTERESTED IN ANY ASSISTANCE YOU CAN PROVIDE. I JUST WANT TO HELP MY FIREND HER SON IS 16 YRS OLD AND HAS BEEN IN AND OUT OF THE HOSPITAL. SHE IS TRYING TO FIND A PLACE FOR HIM IN CALIFORNIA. HE MIRRORS THINGS AND OPENS AND CLOSES. A NICE YOUNG KID.

    THANKS