RESOURCES: Interventions and Therapies

Our goal should be to help persons with autism understand and use their strengths to work around any presenting challenges so they, just like everyone else, has an equal chance at living a fulfilling and productive life. –Stephen M. Shore, EdD (US Autism Association Advisory Board Member)

We are in the early stages of this section, but many of the therapies are identified. If you would like to add a therapy or intervention to the site, please contact us so we may consider adding it to our list. There are many options available. Years ago, there were very few options. Your health care provider or services coordinator can discuss with you the best options for your child. US Autism Association does not recommend any one particular intervention or therapy. Most therapies are applicable through adulthood and not limited to young children. While early intervention is highly recommended, many adults (both young and older) have improved from many of the interventions listed in this section, especially Medical and Biomedical).

By recognizing the highly individual and diverse nature of treatment and services, US Autism Association offers information and education that reflects a variety of views and practices regarding these interventions and resources to allow maximum choice and benefit for the ASD community.

These approaches and techniques are categorized predominantly by their theories and objectives. Interventions and Therapies are arranged into four areas: Comprehensive Treatment Programs (CTP), Techniques and Therapies, Developmental, Educational, and Medical/Biomedical. Many of the therapies overlap into all of the categories. For example, Hippotherapy works with a specially trained occupational, physical, or speech therapist, who uses the horse as a mobile therapeutic tool. The action of the horse, coupled with traditional therapy, influences muscle tone, mobilizes joints, activates muscle action, increases sensorimotor integration, and improves balance and midline control. The Comprehensive Treatment Programs, while not considered more effective than other interventions, generally are considered programs that require intensive therapy 20-40 hours per week. That said, many of the programs in Techniques and Therapies or Developmental therapies could also be classified as comprehensive and require the same amount hours of therapy per week as described in the CTP. There is also overlapping therapies that could apply to all of the sections identified in Comprehensive Treatment Programs, Developmental, Educational and Techniques and Therapies.

The information on these pages will be updated frequently. Find out what other parents have discovered in their communities on treatment options and availability. US Autism Association has partnered with MyAutismTeam, an organization that offers one of the easiest ways to locate providers that have been recommended by other parents. MyAutismTeam is a social network for parents to connect with each other and exchange insights about providers.

There are many other approaches for helping those with autism. It is only with complete and unbiased information that parents, educators and others who support people on the autism spectrum can make informed decisions on the best approach or combination of methods for educating persons on the autism spectrum. –Stephen M. Shore, EdD

Comprehensive Treatment Programs
CTP refers to a classification of treatment programs that may involve intensive therapy of 20-40 hours per week. Most of the programs are designed top addressed behavior modification, although they encompass a broad area of interventions that include developmental, educational, sensory related, social communication, social skills, listening, and more. In this section you will learn about Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) and the other applications of ABA including Verbal Behavior (VB) (discussed by James W. Partington, PhD, BCBA, who is an advisory board member of US Autism Association), Discrete trial instruction, Pivitol response therapy (PRT), TEACCH, Daily Life Therapy, The Miller Method, Relationship Development Intervention (RDI), Floortime/DIR, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), The Son-Rise Program, The P.L.A.Y. Project, SPELL, plus more. Learn more.

According to the National Institutes of Health, children with ASDs are guaranteed free, appropriate public education under federal laws. Public Law 108-77: Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act?17(2004) and Public Law 105-17: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act?IDEA18?(1997) make it possible for children with disabilities to get free educational services and educational devices to help them to learn as much as they can. Learn more.

Developmental therapies in this section include Relationship Development Intervention (RDI), Floortime/DIR, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), The Son-Rise Program, SCERTS, and more. Learn more.

Techniques and Therapies
Techniques and therapies discussed in this section include Music Therapy, Hippotherapy, Art Therapy, Augmentative Communication, The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Oral Motor Therapy, Physical Therapy, Sensory Integration, and more.. Learn more.

Medical and Biomedical interventions are discussed in this section. Learn more.

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