What is Autism and Aspergers?
Autism is considered to be a spectrum disorder because some individuals may have autism with cognitive limitations, while others are only mildly affected by autism. Although ASD is a life-long disability, many individuals show significant progress with treatment, and have the ability to independently participate in learning, social, and community activities with typically developing peers (e.g., attend typical learning environments). For some individuals with autism, early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) can result in growth and learning so that, eventually, the individual no longer meets the criteria for autism.
Asperger’s syndrome is a mild form of high-functioning autism more common in males than in females. Though, by definition, people with Asperger’s have no significant delay in language or cognitive development, people with the condition often experience difficulty with social interaction and sensory reception. With early diagnosis and therapy, most people with Asperger’s syndrome live regular lives.
Signs of ASD
- Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts.
- Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities, as manifested by at least two of the following, currently or by history.
- Symptoms must be present in the early developmental period (but may not become fully manifested until social demands exceed limited capacities, or may be masked by learned strategies in later life).
- Symptoms cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of current functioning.
How is it treated?
- Cognitive Therapy- a type of psychotherapy in which negative patterns of thought about the self and the world are challenged in order to alter unwanted behavior patterns
- Paint Therapy- allowing one to express their feelings through art while gaining a peace of mind.
- Social Skills and Training-Therapists use social skills training to help individuals learn ways to interact with peers. Speech-language therapy is another useful way to improve communication skills in someone with Asperger’s. This therapy can help kids recognize certain gestures and figures of speech. It can also lead to improved eye contact.
- Sensory Integration/Occupational Therapy- An occupational therapist shows kids how to perform certain exercises that can improve balance, hand-eye coordination, and responses to sounds or touches. The idea is that if you can better control your senses, you can better regulate your movements and emotions.
Early intervention seems to be the key to success when it comes to treating ASD. This means that the earlier you start a therapy, the better.
Every child and adult with Asperger’s is different. You might have to try several treatment approaches before you notice improvement.
Sometimes, a combination of various therapies is most effective.