If you have a child who is newly diagnosed with autism, or are thinking of starting a new therapy program for an autistic child, I highly recommend reading the article Which Therapies Can Help with Autism. The learning curve for therapies to help your autistic child can be daunting. Not every therapy works for every child, and it can take…
Many of us have had uncomfortable moments when a person with autism “acts out” or does something inappropriate. Sometimes these behaviours can be aggressive and downright scary for a parent or caregiver. While it might be easier to imagine that prescribing a drug could minimize these events or make them stop altogether, new research out of the UK suggests that many people with intellectual disabilities are overprescribed medications in an effort to treat problem behaviours such as aggression and self-injury, despite there being little evidence of any benefit from these medications.
It is an overwhelming task for parents to choose the right program for their child with autism. We do our research through media, family, friends, and ask other people in the autism community what is working for them. We then enroll our child in that program only to find it isn’t working for them. So what went wrong?
Answer: There is a dizzying array of information about autism and what treatments/therapies work best. You’ll get advice from parents who’ll tell you how well something worked for their child. Medical professionals will have an opinion. Internet research, forums, and articles may also influence your decision.
Last week in the Globe and Mail, there was an article about the effectiveness of autism treatments over the past decade. Two of the findings published in the journal Pediatrics that stood out to me were:
- Intensive behavioural and developmental therapy results in improved cognitive performance, language skills and behaviour in some young children, but few studies in this area were rated of good enough quality to single out specific approaches.
- There is little evidence of benefit for most medications used to treat ASD.
When a family receives an ASD diagnosis, the first question that often comes to mind is what treatment or therapy would work best for their child? Are some therapies more effective than others?