There are so many autism treatments out there right now. How is a parent supposed to pick the best one? If a child was diagnosed with cancer, the doctor would lay out a treatment plan and tell the parents exactly what to do, but with autism, a parent gets the diagnosis and is sent on their way to figure out the best treatment on their own. With only so much time in the day and so much money in our pocket, it is important that we use our children’s time and our money wisely.
Parents are being bombarded with new treatments for autism every week. As a consumer and advocate for your child, you need to decide how to spend your child’s time and your money.
Before your child starts any treatment, check out the facts. Has this treatment been proven to be effective for children with autism? Is there peer reviewed research that proves its effectiveness? This is the type of treatment that you want to look for. Don’t get popularity confused with effectiveness. Just because a lot of people are doing it, doesn’t mean that it is effective. For example, hippo-therapy is a popular treatment for children with autism, however; there is no research that proves it to be effective. Sure, the kids love it, but does it really do anything to lessen the symptoms of autism? So, is this the best way to spend time and money?
My husband and I recently bought a car. We checked out Consumer Reports and several other legitimate sources before we made our decision. We did not pick our new car simply because the sales person said it was a great vehicle. After all, he gets paid to sell cars. We looked at the glossy ads that the manufacturers put out, too, but again, we knew that they are trying to sell us their car. Consumer Reports on the other hand, does not make any money based on the car that we bought. It is a non-biased source that puts all the cars it rates through the same tests and clearly describes what the tests are and their rating criteria. When choosing a treatment for your child with autism, why would you do any less? Be wary of the glossy ads and the salesperson. Do your homework.
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Little Star Center (LSC) -- created by a family of a child with autism -- was the first in Indiana to employ Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) treatment, which has long been considered the most effective intervention method for children with autism.Â ABA features several instructional approaches for consideration when developing a learnerâs personal program. One of the ABA evidence-based procedures used by the Little Star clinical team is âerrorless learningâ or âerrorless teaching.â Errorless learning is a strategy to ensure independence in the learner and foster success by systematically fading out assistance. Learners (or all people, actually) , at times, become frustrated or discouraged if they make a mistake and may hesitate to try a skill again. Or, the learner learns a skil... (Read more)
Sensory integration therapy (SIT) has been commonly used in the treatment of individuals with autism since the 1970s. The primary theory behind SIT is that some children with intellectual/developmental disabilities commonly have sensory needs (related to the five senses of sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell) that are not adequately met. Â The goal of this method â which includes the brushing of skin, swinging and/or wearing a weighted vest -- is to improve attention, reasoning and perception and decrease disruptive or repetitive behaviors. However, because this form of therapy remains largely untested, the success rate cannot be validated and the effectiveness of SIT remains questionable. âParents want to provide the best and most useful treatment for their children.Â They mean ... (Read more)
There has been much international attention on the recent publication in BMC Medicine of a study by Harvard University and Childrenâs Hospital Boston on EEG testing in young children as young as two years of age.Â The study aimed to identify factors that separate children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) from those without. One such article in ScienceDaily (June 25, 2012) summarizes the research conducted by Dr. Frank H. Duffy, Dept. of Neurology, and Heidelise Als, PhD., Dept. of Psychiatry, both at Boston Childrenâs Hospital. The results revealed that children with autism exhibit consistent EEG patterns indicating altered connectivity between brain regions, âgenerally, reduced connectivity as compared with controls.âÂ In the ScienceDaily article, Dr. Duffy was quoted, â... (Read more)
[caption id="attachment_973" align="alignleft" width="256"] Mary Rosswurm[/caption] Dear Mary is a bimonthly column whereby readers may submit questions to email@example.com and receive answers related to autism.Â Mary Rosswurm is executive director of Little Star Center and also the mother of a son who has been diagnosed with autism.Â She understandsâŚ Dear Mary, My sonâs doctor recommended ABA therapy for him. He is four years old and doesnât like loud places, lights on or other kids. I would like a home program for him. Jeana, Indianapolis Hi Jeana, The reasons you described (dislike of loud places, lights or other children) strongly suggest why your son needs a center-based program and not a home-based program. A robust center-based program o... (Read more)