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Caring for AutismPractical Advice from a Parent and Physician$
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Michael Ellis

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190259358

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190259358.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 18 September 2021

Non-Medication Therapies for ASD

Non-Medication Therapies for ASD

(p.147) 8 Non-Medication Therapies for ASD
Caring for Autism

Michael Ellis

Oxford University Press

There are a multitude of nonpharmacological (non-medication) therapies for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). These therapies generally have mainstream acceptance, especially compared with the complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments mentioned in Chapter 7. Unfortunately, some of these non-medication therapies have little scientific evidence to support their effectiveness. Even those therapies that have some proven efficacy, and likely do work, are based on low-quality studies. Much more research is needed to prove that these therapies improve the symptoms of ASD and associated symptoms, and further studies are needed to differentiate in which children these therapies work best, the necessary treatment frequency and duration, and how young to begin these therapies. It is paramount that you be vigilant in researching and choosing the best therapy for your child. Many people are more than happy to take your money, and they know that you are vulnerable. Although many of these non-medication therapies are far from dangerous, wasting your time and money on the wrong therapy is harmful to your child and your family. The younger your child starts therapy or interventions, the greater the improvement is likely to be and the larger the impact on your child’s future. Thus, if you waste this window of opportunity on the wrong treatment, you will harm your child’s future. Luckily, there is sound evidence to support some of the therapies we will discuss. Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), as well as the behavioral interventions in general, has the best evidence to support its use in improving ASD symptoms in your child. Behavioral interventions for ASD are the most available and utilized category of nonpharmacological therapies as they are based on learning principles that are quite logical and evidence-based. One of the most widely recognized behavioral interventions/therapies is ABA, a type of therapy that uses learning and behavior techniques and principles to bring about positive changes in behavior. ABA is effective when applied to academics, adaptive skills, social skills, vocational skills, and communication. The goal of ABA therapy is to increase new skills and decrease problem behaviors.

Keywords:   Discrete Trial Training (DTT), Early-Start Denver Model (ESDM), Pivotal Response Training (PRT), Play and Language for Autistic Youngsters (PLAY), Stepping Stones Triple P (SSTP), aggression, non-medication therapies, occupational therapist, pediatrician, physical therapist

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