Many people of all ages struggle with autism, and yet it remains a complex condition that requires specialized, individual care. There is a broad spectrum when it comes to severity and specific symptoms and challenges. This is why each person must receive the proper treatments and therapies for their needs.
To do this, a comprehensive and holistic approach to treatment is often the most effective. This involves integrating multiple forms of therapy as needed for each individual. There are a few main areas of treatment, with various techniques to accomplish each one. Read on to learn more about integrating therapies and creating a comprehensive plan for individual autism treatment.
Behavioural therapy is a staple in treating autism as many struggle with behavioural challenges. This type of therapy focuses on behaviour modification through a variety of methods that are tailored to the individual.
Some of the more common behavioural therapy techniques include:
- Applied Behavioural Analysis. Put simply, this is a process that aims to encourage good and desired behavioural patterns. There are three steps. First, a therapist gives an instruction, the child responds with a behaviour (or lack thereof), and then the therapist demonstrates the consequence. Said “consequence” can be positive if the desired behaviour is demonstrated, or negative if not. Either way, this process helps children learn which behaviours are desired and correct.
- Pivotal Response Treatment. This is a play-based method of behavioural analysis that focuses on language, communication, and social skills. It can increase academic skills and performance while also leading to fewer disruptive behaviours and more positive social interactions.
- Early Start Denver Model. This is a popular form of behavioural therapy especially for younger children aged one to four. It supports social, emotional, cognitive, and language development. It also helps reduce various symptoms and struggles. It’s conducted both in the clinic and at home, or sometimes a combination of both. Parental involvement in this method is key as once prepared, you can continue helping your child at home.
Speech and Language Therapy
From mild to severe, communication, speech, and language challenges are common among those with autism. Even the most severe of issues can be addressed, though, with proper treatment and therapy. Speech and language therapy increases the ability to speak, whether it’s a physical or cognitive limitation. In doing so, communication, social interaction, and even self-esteem and confidence are improved.
Some of the common issues addressed in speech and language therapy include:
- Articulation. Articulation therapy uses various methods to teach specific sounds and syllables to improve communication. This is done through a combination of play, audio recordings, and even demonstration.
- Language naturally develops over time as children grow up, but those with autism may be delayed or find it more difficult. Language intervention helps children develop their language abilities through role-playing, stories, play, and more.
- Oral Motor Skills. Sometimes, speech and language difficulties are a result of a physical limitation or lack of motor skills. Oral motor therapy focuses on strengthening the facial muscles and encouraging the proper sounds and facial shapes. This is done through things like massage, strength exercises, and plenty of practice.
Occupational therapy is an important tool for enhancing the daily lives of those with autism. It focuses on improving motor skills, coordination, and independence in daily living. For children, it can also be a crucial component in learning how to better participate in school activities and complete schoolwork.
It does all this by addressing a variety of issues and challenges:
- Low motor skills and weak muscles
- Sensory dysfunction
- Lack of coordination, which can lead to trouble writing, drawing, playing, and more
- Difficulty with social skills, play skills, and daily activities
This is a broad form of therapy that targets many issues at once. You can expect to see techniques such as play therapy, social skills training, behaviour therapy, sensory therapy, and more all rolled into an individualized strategy.
Sensory Integration Therapy
Sensory issues are common among those with autism spectrum disorder. Some struggle more than others, but even mild sensory issues can interfere with daily life. This is why sensory integration therapy is crucial for most autism treatment plans.
Sensory integration therapy focuses on individuals better handling sensory information from their environment. Exercises involve exposure to new and different textures, materials, sights, sounds, smells, and more. For example, they’ll be encouraged to play and interact with various materials and textures to become more comfortable with them. Other techniques involve creating a comfortable and stable environment in which to experiment with new sights, sounds, and even foods.
This is why it’s important to find a therapist who specializes in what you or your child needs most. Successful sensory integration therapy can lead to better attention and focus, improved behaviour, reduced anxiety, boosted confidence, increased independence, and more.
Crafting a Comprehensive Plan
These types of therapy all focus on different struggles within the spectrum of autism. Each is important and contributes significantly to effective therapy and an improved lifestyle.
Therefore, it’s often most effective to integrate some or all of these therapies into a comprehensive and personalized treatment plan. This can lead to benefits like faster progress and simultaneous improvement in all areas of life, from school and work to socializing and becoming independent.
At Therapy Spot, we offer many forms of therapy through our many trained and qualified therapists. We sit down with each individual and create a specialized plan just for them. Not only does this include a variety of therapies and techniques, but we can perform the therapy in multiple settings.
We offer sessions in our clinic but are also happy to travel to you. This is beneficial for nervous kids who are more comfortable in their own homes, for example. From multiple forms of therapy to special programs for kids and group sessions, we have everything you need for a comprehensive and holistic autism treatment plan. Contact us today for more information or to schedule a consultation!