Tuesday, 09 February 2010 17:26
There are no medical tests to diagnose Autism; however, some medical tests may be used to rule out other medical conditions. Physicians use a variety of screening tools to evaluate the development, communication and language skills along with the interaction with others. They will also question parents or caregivers about the child's development. If the screening shows a risk they will refer you to an Autism specialist or a team of specialists for a more comprehensive evaluation. A team of specialists may include:
- Pediatric Neurologist
- Child Psychologist
- Speech Pathologist
- Developmental Pediatrician
- Special Education Teacher
Although there are many treatment options available, it is important to keep in mind that no single form of treatment works for all children with Autism. Available treatments include, but are not limited to the following:
- ABA: Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) uses a method that gives a positive reinforcement to the child to build play, social and communication skills while reducing problem behaviors. ABA's overall focus is to allow the child to function as independently as possible in all environments. ABA was introduced by B.F. Skinner. For more information on ABA please visit IABA.
- Chelation Therapy: Chelation Therapy involves removing heavy metals and toxins from the body. This is done by using special medications that bind to the heavy metals and carry them out of the body. For more information on Chelation Therapy please visit Autism Info Guide.
- Early Intervention: Early Intervention is for children under the age of three. Children at risk of a developmental delay or disorder are routinely referred to Early Intervention by their physicians. If you suspect for any reason that your infant or child may be at risk or that something just is not right, please talk with your physician. For more information on Early Intervention please visit First Signs.
- Floor Time: Floor Time is a method in which the parents interact with the child at a level the child already enjoys and follows the child's lead. The parents will then lead the child gradually into more complex interactions to build on the child's strengths. Floor Time was developed by Stanley Greenspan. For more information on Floor Time please visit Stanley Greenspan.
- Gluten Free, Casein Free Diet: A lot of families who have a child with Autism have or are currently trying this. It is a dietary and nutritional intervention that has been known to help some children with Autism. It requires you to remove all Gluten and Casein from the child's diet. For more information on the GFCF diet please visit TACA.
- Music Therapy: Music Therapy is now an established health service similar to occupational therapy and physical therapy. Research supports parallels between speech and singing, rhythm and motor behavior, and overall ability of preferred music to enhance mood, attention and behavior to optimize an individual's ability to learn and interact. For more information on Music Therapy please visit Autism Research Institute.
- OT: Occupational Therapy uses many methods to enable the child to maximize their skills while introducing new daily life skills so that the child can become more independent in daily life. Some Occupational Therapists also provide Sensory Integration Therapy. For more information on OT services please visit Suite 101.
- PECS: Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is an alternative method where children with Autism who have little or no verbal communication are given and taught to use picture cards to communicate while trying to increase verbal communication. For more information on PECS please visit Pyramin Education Consultants.
- Sensory Integration Therapy: Some children with Autism have sensory problems. The child can be either over or under sensitive to touch, movement, sights and sounds. The child will be guided through activities that challenge the child's ability to respond appropriately to sensory input. For more information on Sensory Integration Therapy please visit Suite 101.
- Speech Therapy: Speech therapy will be slightly different for each child. This will depend on where your child's verbal and social development is at. A speech therapist will do an evaluation prior to beginning therapy. Speech Therapy is to improve all aspects of communication. This includes: comprehension, expression, sound production, and social use of language. Speech therapy may include the use of sign language and or picture symbols. For more information on Speech Therapy please visit Suite 101.
- TEACCH: Training and Education of Autistic and related Communication-handicapped Children (TEACCH) is an education program that is designed to meet the child's individual needs with some guidelines. TEACCH is unique because their focus is also on the environment around the child. The environment is structured and changed so that it also meets the child's needs so that they are able to focus while learning. For more information on TEACCH please visit Division TEACCH.