What Treatment to Choose
With more than 400 kinds of treatment available for autism, ranging from traditional behavioral therapy to restrictive diets to extreme options like chelation and hyperbaric oxygen, parents often find it hard to know what choices to make for a child on the spectrum. And even after a family commits to an intervention and sees progress, sometimes that progress stalls and it seems that another approach is called for.
Here are some guidelines on choosing a path from Claire LaZebnik, co-author with with Dr. Lynn Kern Koegel, of Overcoming Autism: Finding the Answers, Strategies and Hope That Can Transform a Child’s Life, and Growing Up on the Spectrum: A Guide to Life, Love, and Learning for Teens and Young Adults with Autism and Asperger’s.
To those parents who are just starting out, here’s my advice.
–Seek out the most reputable and researched behavioral interventions available in your area.
– Find therapists who have clear goals and who trained at a real clinic or university and whose manner of interacting with your child feels right to you.
– Work closely with your school and, if possible, mainstream your child with an aide.
– Look for slow and steady progress and give up on the idea of miracle cures–they’re not out there.
– Love your child for who he or she is and stop thinking there’s a different, better kid “trapped inside.”
–Hope for the best, survive the worst, find humor wherever you can.