Continue Research and Experiment with Treatments
The message here is simple: keep trying new things. Unfortunately,
there is no one size fits all treatment for autism. Start with prescribed biomedical
treatments, a home program in behavior modification, and speech and occupational
therapies, but don't stop there. Research and experiment with additional
therapies and biomedical treatments along the way. Contact other parents and
service providers and ask them to share their experience with additional therapies
and teaching techniques. Make it your long-term goal to continue experimenting
with such treatments and evaluating your child's progress on a regular basis.
You may find that some treatments lose their benefit or effectiveness over time.
Consult with your DAN! Practitioner and Program Therapists regularly; you should
always consider their observations and opinions when making your assessments.
The following short list of educational therapies and interventions
is known to compliment home programs:
Relationship Development Intervention (RDI): Gaining
momentum in the autism community, RDI is another effective and highly recommended
therapy. It's based on the model of Experience Sharing developed by Dr Steven
Gutstein. The primary goal of the RDI program is to systematically teach the
motivation and skills for experience-sharing interaction. Unfortunately, qualified
providers are not available in all areas. Contact The Connections Center and
ask about providers and training in your area. See the following web site
for more information (including scheduled workshops presented by Dr. Gutstein).
TEACCH: (Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related
Communication Handicapped Children is this right? It doesn't seem to match
the letter order of the acronym]) was developed at the School of Medicine at
the University of North Carolina in the 1970's. It is a structured teaching
approach based on the idea that the environment should be adapted to the child
with autism, not the child to the environment. It uses no one specific technique,
but rather is a program based around the child's functioning level.
PECS: (Picture Exchange Communication Systems) was developed
at the Delaware Autistic Program to help children and adults with autism to
acquire functional communication skills. It uses ABA-based methods to teach
children to exchange a picture for something they want, such as an item or activity.
Floortime: An educational model developed by child psychiatrist
Stanley Greenspan, Floor Time is much like play therapy in that it builds an
increasingly larger circle of interaction between a child and an adult in a
developmentally based sequence.
Tomatis: By stimulating the auditory system, and through
it, by stimulating the brain, the Tomatis Method has been able to reduce the
autistic symptoms to varying degrees. Each autistic person is different
and may respond differently to the program.
Fast ForWord: A computer-based language and reading
program designed by Scientific Learning to develop the cognitive skills necessary
for successful speech, reading, and learning. Studies have revealed improvements
in as little as 4 to 12 weeks.