Should the same interventions be used in all cases of autism?

Autism and the Individual

Many of the interventions in cases of autism and related pervasive developmental disorders seem to communicate a "cookie cutter" approach to treatment. However, each case is unique and interventions and rewards should be catered to the individual. One important thing to remember is that each individual is unique. Interventions that work for one person within the autism spectrum of disorders might not work for another. Taking the individual's strengths, interests and needs into consideration will increase the probability that interventions will be successful. The individual with autism is not the only person to consider when using interventions and various treatment approaches. The person implementing the interventions should be considered as well. An individual who is analytical in nature might fair better beginning with play therapy while a person who is focused on cause and effect might fair better by using behavioral interventions from the start. The autism spectrum of disorders is vast and there are many different levels of abilities and needs among the autistic population. Interventions that are effective with one child might not be effective for another. What is motivating for one child may not be rewarding for another. For example, many children within the autism spectrum of disorders crave hugs and physical contact. Others may not be able to tolerate hugs and excessive physical contact because it is overwhelming to their sensory systems. Using a big hug as a reinforcing reward would be beneficial for some while it would be distracting and uncomfortable for others. Individuals with autism offer a wide variety of strengths and interests. Taking time to observe and consider these characters specific to the individual is crucial in determining which interventions to use.

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Tammi Reynolds
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