Helping Children with Autism
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects one out of every 166 people. No two cases are the same, and therefore, treatment intervention plans greatly differ. If your child has autism, there are many things you can do as a parent to help him overcome the many challenges of the disorder. It’s crucial to get the support you need that allows you to be the best parent you can be for your child. Understanding autism and the various therapy and treatment strategies can make a drastic difference in your child’s wellbeing.
What Autism Means
Children with autism have differences in the way that their brain develops and processes information. Some children may experience trouble communicating, while others may perform repetitive behaviors. Signs of autism are generally recognizable by the time a child is 2 to 3 years old. Common signs of autism include trouble playing and interacting with others, having brief eye contact with others, not pointing to objects, repetitive movements, not using or understanding language and not exploring their surroundings.
What Causes Autism
While the causes of autism are not yet fully understood by scientists, many believe that environmental factors and genes are involved. New research has found that children with an autistic sibling have a 30 percent chance of developing autism. Other studies have suggested that autism is a product of environmental viruses, vaccines or allergies. It’s important to remember that autism is not caused by bad parenting. Psychologists know that autism is a problem with how the brain works, now how children are raised.
There is currently no cure for autism. However, early intervention and professional therapies have the ability to significantly help children in developing their skills and boosting their potential. Treatment intervention plans should be tailored for each child and their personal behavioral, educational and occupational needs. The goal of a therapy program is to teach children how to play and cooperate with others, take care of their body and be safe, communicate with others and minimize undesirable behaviors.
Once your doctor has diagnosed your child with autism spectrum disorder, it’s important to seek help immediately. There is help out there for parents if you look in the right places – no matter your financial state. To find out what specialized programs are available for your ASD child, contact your child’s doctor, county or township departments, education and health departments, local chapters of autism advocacy groups and churches and other charitable organizations.
Since all children with autism are different, it may take time to find a therapy program that helps your child reach desired goals. Parents and health care providers should observe the therapy in action and ensure that they understand all that a therapy involves before starting it. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, it’s important for children with autism to follow a predicable schedule, follow a series of simple steps, learn through structured activities and are reinforced for good behavior.
If you have a child with autism, it’s important to know that drugs and behavior therapy are not your only options. Autism can be treated with a wide range of bio-medical services that help treat the underlying problems and not just the symptoms. Treatment options, such as diet and nutrition changes, detoxification and chelation therapy can make a big difference in your child’s life. With early intervention, children with ASD can lead in a healthy and happy way of living and overcome many of the common challenges that children with autism face every day.
By Brandy Burgess