There are many kinds of treatments for children with autism, such as applied behavioral analysis, educational interventions, and medication.
ABA is a type of behavior program. It can be used in school, in a therapy setting, and at home. There are a number of different kinds of ABA programs. One is called discrete trial training (DTT). This is a structured method of teaching. It involves breaking a lesson down into steps, providing prompts so that the child does the task, and having consequences for the child’s performance. For example, if a task is done as instructed, then a reward is given.
Other types of ABA programs include pivotal response training (PRT). This approach focuses on what motivates the child to learn. If the child chooses to play with a certain toy, then that choice can be used to teach a skill. For example, learning colors. PRT also involves teaching the child in real ways. For example, you might teach a child how to tie a shoe. Then, the reward could be to play outside, instead of giving him or her candy.
Applied verbal behavior (VB) is another program. It involves helping the child gain verbal skills. The teacher breaks lessons down into small trials, gives prompts, and provides feedback to reinforce the desired behavior. The goal is to have the child use his or her verbal skills to communicate his or her needs.
In the school setting, there are other programs that may be used. The relationship-based developmental program is one example. This focuses on what developmental level the child is at, how the child is progressing emotionally, how the child responds to the environment, and what types of social relationships the child has.
A program called treatment and education of autistic and related communication-handicapped children (TEACCH) is also used in schools. In general, this involves a structured schedule. The schedule includes tasks that focus on certain skills. For example, verbal skills, social skills, and daily activities.
For children with communication difficulties, there are alternative communication systems that can be taught, such as:
In addition, there are other methods that may help children with autism in the educational setting:
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Last reviewed March 2014 by Kari Kassir, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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