Treatments of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Topic: Treatments of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

General Purpose: To Inform.

Specific Purpose: To inform my audience about the treatment of autism spectrum disorder.

Thesis: There is no single best treatment for all children with autism spectrum disorder, but special treatments can be effective in improving the skills of children.

I. Introduction

A. Attention Getter: Do you know that 1 child out of every 110 children in US has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD)?

B. Reason to Listen: This can affect children of all social classes and races all over the world. Recent research has been inconclusive as to the causes of ASD.

C. Thesis Statement: There is no single best treatment for all children with autism spectrum disorder, but special treatments can be effective in improving the skills of children.

D. Credibility Statement.

  1.  I have a relative who has a child with autism spectrum disorder.
  2.  I have read and studied a lot of information about treatments of such disorders to help my relatives.

E. Preview of Main Points.

  1.  First, I will discuss the autism spectrum disorder.
  2.  Second, I will discuss the first signs of ASD.

II. Body

A. What is ASD?

Autism is not a single disorder, but a variation of closely-related disorders with shared symptoms. Every child with the autism spectrum has problems with social skills, flexible behavior, communication and empathy. But, the level of the combination of symptoms and incapacity varies greatly from one person to another. In fact, two individuals with the same diagnosis may look different when it comes to their abilities and behavior.

Autism spectrum disorders appear in infancy and early childhood, causing delays in many basic areas of development, such as learning to interact with others, talk, play, etc. ASDs are three to four times more common in boys than girls.

When people talk about autism spectrum disorders, they are referring to the three most common pervasive developmental disorders.

  • Autism.
  • Asperger’s Syndrome.
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS).

B. Autism symptoms & early signs.

Behavioral symptoms of ASDs are hard to diagnose before 24 months, typically appear before a child is 3, although differences can appear even in the first year of life. If signs are detected by 18 months of age, intensive treatment may help to reverse the symptoms and rewire the brain. The early diagnosis and therapy can be tremendously helpful in improving the behavior and abilities of children with ASD.

  • Early signs of autism in babies and toddlers.
  • Doesn’t make eye contact.
  • Doesn’t smile when smiled at.
  • Doesn’t respond to their name.
  • Doesn’t visually follow objects.
  • Doesn’t make noises to get attention.
  • Doesn’t respond to, or initiate, cuddling.
  • Doesn’t imitate your movements and facial expressions.
  • Doesn’t play with other people, or share interest and enjoyment.

As children get older, the symptoms of autism become more diverse. There are many warning signs and symptoms, but they typically revolve around impaired social skills, speech and language difficulties, non-verbal communication difficulties and inflexible behavior.

C. Treatments of ASD.

A range of teaching approaches and behavioral therapies are used to help children develop skills in the areas where they’re having difficulties. Depending on the child’s needs, occupational, physical and communication therapies may be very helpful too.

First type of a widely accepted treatment is behavior and communication approaches.

  • Applied behavior analysis (ABA). The goals of ABA are to shape and reinforce new behaviors, such as learning to speak and play, and reduce undesirable ones.
  • Developmental, Individual Difference, Relationship-based (DIR) – aims to build healthy and meaningful relationships and abilities by following the natural emotions and interests of the child.
  • TEACCH (Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication Handicapped Children) – emphasizes adapting the child’s physical environment and using visual cues, for example, having classroom materials clearly marked and located so that students can access them independently.
  • Interpersonal Synchrony – targets social development and imitation skills, and focuses on teaching children how to establish and maintain engagement with others.

Medications: There are no medications that can cure ASDs, or even treat the main symptoms. But some medications can help reduce symptoms that cause problems for the child in school, or at home. All medications carry the risk of side effects.

Complementary and Alternative Treatments: To relieve the symptoms of ASDs, some parents and health care professionals use treatments that are outside of what is typically recommended by the pediatrician. These types of treatments are known as alternative and complementary treatments. These usually include special diets, biological, or body-based systems (like deep pressure).

III. Conclusion

A. Summary of main points: An ASD is a life-long condition. But intensive behavioral therapy during the toddler, or preschool, years can significantly improve cognitive and language skills in young children with ASD.
B. Re-state thesis: While there is no single treatment for autism, only a loving heart will tell a parent how to help the child.


1. Autism Spectrum Disorder, National Institute of Mental Health
2. Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs), Centers for disease control and prevention.
3. Volkmar FR, et al. (2008). Asperger’s syndrome of Pervasive developmental disorders. In RE Hales et al., eds., The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Psychiatry, 5th ed., pp. 882-884. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing.

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