Archive for July 7th, 2008

What Are Important Ways to Treat Autism?

This is an essential and often asked question.  Of course, medical treatment is important, as well as mental health treatment, education and various other types of treatment depending on the individual. 

One of the most important areas of treatment for individuals with autism is the area of social interaction.  This is a difficult issue because if a person struggles with autism, it can be extremely difficult for them to interact socially with others, partially because they become overwhelmed due to over-stimulation.  With practice and gradual increase of interaction, many individuals with autism improve their sociability a great deal.

Some essential information regarding initiating and increasing communication and social interactions include helping the family and the community understand what to do and how to do it.  People need to know what the family is going through and how the community and the family can work together.

Determine what the individual – whether a child or adult – with autism is able to do.  Abilities are very important, especially so that the person is not pushed beyond what they can do and does not be overwhelmed.  On the other hand, if the person or child wants to try an activity, as long as it is not unsafe, they should be encouraged to do so.  If they can’t succeed at the activity at this time, at least they have tried and can try again at another time.  If they do succeed at the activity, it will help them grow and become more confident, possibly diminishing the amount of times they are overwhelmed.

If the child is going to be in a place or situation where a large group is expected, arrive early and allow the child to explore and become acclimated and comfortable before the group arrives. 

When giving directions or instructions, try to say them with positive words.  For instance, if you want to tell the individual not to go outside (negative version), instead, tell them to stay inside.  This is more direct and less confusing.  Speak clearly and do so as you would speak to any other person, not talking down to them.

There are many things that can be done to help a person with autism expand their world.  Remembering that a big part of autism is that the individual process information differently is something that will help in communicating with them.  There have been huge strides made in dealing with autism, especially during the past decade or two.  Some of the ideas we have discussed here can assist you in making positive strides with an individual dealing with autism who happens to be in your life.

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Treating Autism at Home

There are various sides to treating autism and they are all important.  The two most important are working with physicians and other medical professionals and educational professionals to treat autism on a continuous basis.  The other of the two is treating and working with autism at home. 

If you have a child with autism, it is important that you learn all you can about autism in general and about your child’s specific symptoms and situation so that you can care for them in the most effective and efficient way possible.  It is also important that you learn what you need to be able to take care of yourself, so that you can do a good job of taking care of your child. 

Taking care of yourself includes determining how much sleep and rest you need and trying to get as close to that as possible, eating healthy foods daily and making sure you are getting enough vitamins, minerals and protein regularly and trying to create some personal time during which you can read, exercise, visit with friends, go out for a cup of coffee or a meal or something else that you enjoy and that will take you away from being a caregiver, even if only for an hour.  There are respite services available, or you may be able to ask a close friend or family member to cover for you for a short time.  The better condition you are in, the better you will be able to care for your child.  In most cases reducing family stress helps a child dealing with autism function better.

When dealing with your child’s autism, find out about their educational rights.  According to the federal government, all children have the right to an education including those with disabilities under which autism is included.  In addition to federal rights, there are often state and local types of assistance for children with autism, and this assistance can include various forms of treatment, education and other benefits.

Treating your child’s autism at home goes hand in hand with any other treatment they are receiving.  The more you learn about treatment and assistance for them as well as taking care of yourself, the more successful you – and they – will be.

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