What is the focus of treatments for autism?

Focus of Treatment for Autism

Currently, there is no cure for pervasive developmental disorders. However, a number of treatment approaches have been developed over the years that have yielded great results. The focus on treatment for autism lies in communication, behavior, social interaction and self care. Each individual is different and the treatment that an autistic child receives should be tailored to his specific needs. The approaches should also embrace his strengths to maximize his potential. A treatment plan is typically developed in a collaborative effort. The child's caretakers, caseworkers and doctor build the treatment plan by recognizing the child's needs and strengths and developing goals. The goals are outlined in the individual's treatment plan. The focus of treatment for autism will rest on those goals and the treatment plan outlines specific interventions and strategies that will help the child attain them. When a treatment plan is developed the parents outline specific areas of concern. For example, the child may not use words to access wants and needs. The goal for the child would be: "Child will use words, sign language or gestures to access wants and needs with 80 percent accuracy." The parents are encouraged to prompt the child to use some form of functional communication to access wants and needs. The therapists on staff will engage the child in drills specific to this goal. A common drill that would be used is to prompt the child to sign or say, "want" in the presence of a desired object or activity. When the child follows through, he is immediately given the reward. Typically, the doctor will evaluate the child's progress and determine if the treatment plan needs to be reworked. Meetings are commonly held to evaluate the treatment plan on a quarterly basis. The physician may also prescribe medication in the treatment of autism in some cases.

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