Autism Spectrum Disorder – Treatments and Therapies

Treatment for ASD should begin as soon as possible after diagnosis. Early treatment for ASD is important as proper care can reduce individuals’ difficulties while helping them learn new skills and make the most of their strengths.

The wide range of issues facing people with ASD means that there is no single best treatment for ASD. Working closely with a doctor or health care professional is an important part of finding the right treatment program.

Medication

A doctor may use medication to treat some symptoms that are common with ASD. With medication, a person with ASD may have fewer problems with:

  • Irritability
  • Aggression
  • Repetitive behavior
  • Hyperactivity
  • Attention problems
  • Anxiety and depression

Behavioral, psychological, and educational therapy

People with ASD may be referred to doctors who specialize in providing behavioral, psychological, educational, or skill-building interventions. These programs are typically highly structured and intensive and may involve parents, siblings, and other family members. Programs may help people with ASD:

  • Learn life-skills necessary to live independently
  • Reduce challenging behaviors
  • Increase or build upon strengths
  • Learn social, communication, and language skills

Other resources

There are many social services programs and other resources that can help people with ASD. Here are some tips for finding these additional services:

  • Contact your doctor, local health department, school, or autism advocacy group to learn about special programs or local resources.
  • Find an autism support group. Sharing information and experiences can help individuals with ASD and/or their caregivers learn about treatment options and ASD-related programs.
  • Record conversations and meetings with health care providers and teachers. This information helps when it’s time to make decisions about which programs might best meet an individual’s needs.
  • Keep copies of doctors’ reports and evaluations. This information may help an individual qualify for special programs.