Successful Treatments for Autism Katie Mason Luzerne County Community College Abstract In this paper

Successful Treatments for Autism
Katie Mason
Luzerne County Community College

Abstract
In this paper, I will be discussing the developmental disorder of Autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder associated with repetitive behaviors and difficulty with social interactions. This disorder can cause issues with social contact, language and speech, intelligence and different responses to the world around them compared to an individual who does not have ASD. I will generally be discussing the specific types of treatments available to those with Autism Spectrum Disorder, along with different degrees of success within each treatment. I feel that by doing all of this, I will educate myself and others on gaining more of an understanding on what Autism is, what are the treatment options to provide to someone who has Autism, and what are the possible outcomes of these treatments, if any. I think after going over the information listed in this paper, an individual will have a better outlook on what a person with Autism faces daily and how difficult it is for some of these people to live normal life’s.
Defining Autism Spectrum Disorders
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs), are a group of neurological disorders categorized by socially impaired interactions, deficits in communication and the presence of repetitive behaviors and restricted interests. The quality of thinking and learning capabilities of people with ASD are can vary between either gifted or very limited. The onset of ASD is typical before three years of age and can create obstacles throughout a person’s life. ASD occurs in all racial, social and ethical groups, with males being four times as likely to be diagnosed than females.
The primary ASDs are Autistic Disorder (or autism), Asperger’s Disorder, and Pervasive Development Disorder. These behaviors are very similar, but differ on when the behaviors start, the severity and the pattern of problems.
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autistic Disorder or “autism” is defined by three main functions (1) social function, (2) communication and (3) repetitive behaviors. Common symptoms associated with this disorder are poor eye contact, poor reading, failure to develop relationships, delayed speech development, difficulty with conversations, lack of make believe play and repetitive behaviors. Symptoms are present before 3 years old.
Causes of Autism
No one knows for sure the exact cause of Autism, but researchers believe that both genes and environment play a role. Researchers have found that Autism runs in families. Among identical twins, if one child is diagnosed with Autism, then the other is likely to be affected 75-90% of the time. Parents who have a child with ASD have a 2-10% chance of their second child being affected. Some parents are skeptical about vaccines causing autism, but there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. However, there is some evidence that environmental factors such as viruses and infections, may play a role in causing some forms of autism.
Successful Treatments
Treatments can be done at home if the patient chooses to and it also it less costly. The first successful treatment with people who have been diagnosed with autism is known as Sensory Motor, and researchers have seen an improvement with this type of treatment in young boys compared to the traditional behavioral therapies, according to research studies. The reasoning for this type of treatment is because researchers believe that autism starts with a sensory motor problem, with the most common including smell and touch sensitivity. With years of experimenting on animals and documenting the affects of the environment on behavioral and neurological outcomes, with the study predicting that a similar enrichment in autistic children would have a profound effect. This study was conducted involving 28 autistic boys, ranging in the ages between 3 and 12. Researchers than placed the boys in two separate groups based on their ages and severity of autism. For six months, both groups participated in the behavioral therapy, while the other group under went therapy from the daily environmental exercises. Parents of each of the boys were given a kit filled with several types of oils including lavender, apple, lemon and vanilla to stimulate their smell factor. For touch, the kit also contained aluminum, pieces of doormats that were cut into squares, smooth foam, sandpaper, and other several types of objects. The kit also included pieces of carpet, solid wood flooring, pillows, bubble wrap and cardboard that parents laid down on to create a path. Items for the children to manipulate were piggy banks with plastic coins, plastic fruits, and a small fishing pole. Researchers than asked the parents to conduct these studies twice a day of four to seven exercises involving different combinations of sensory exercises for touch, temperature, sight and movement. The children also listened to classic music at least once a day. Following six months of therapy, 42% of the children in the environmental study group significantly improved their behaviors such as relating to other people and responding better to sights and sounds, compared to the 7% of those children who were in the standard study group, according to researchers. The children in the environmental group also showed signs of improvement in cognitive function, which does cover the aspects of perception and reasoning, where the children in the standard study group decreased. Overall, 69% of the children’s parent reported a significant improvement in their child’s autism all together.
Another form of successful treatment is called Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and The Early Start Denver Model. Behavior Analysis focuses on the understanding of how learning takes place. Positive reinforcement is one of the approaches. When a behavior is followed by some type of reward, the odds of the behavior being repeated is likely. (ABA) is the use of these techniques and brings out a positive change in behavior. Analysts began working with children in the 1960’s who had autism. Studies have shown that children with autism who under went (ABA) treatment had significant improvements in learning, communication and adaptability.
The Early Start Denver Model is an early intervention approach with children with autism, ages 12 to 48 months. This program was designed to define skills to be taught at any given time and a set of teaching procedures used to deliver tis content. This type of exercise can take place in an office setting or in the comfort of one’s home.
Floor Time Therapy derives from the Developmental Individual-Difference Relationship based Model (DIR) and was created by a child psychologist by the name of Stanley Greenspan, M.D. and Serena Weider, PhD. The purpose of the therapy is to help children understand their wide variety of communication by meeting them at their developmental capabilities and building on their stronger points. Floor time play takes place in a calm place, whether it be at home or in an office. Floor time play is remotely characterized by interacting with the child who has autism and emphasize their interactions. These sessions can last anywhere between 2-5 hours a day.
Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) is one of the most studied behavioral treatments of autism. It comes from the (ABA) therapy and is play based and child initiated. This form of therapy does not single handedly stick to one specific area, but rather “pivots” multiple areas of child development. These areas include, motivation, response to cues and social interactions. This type of therapy is usually used with children in the preschool age, but studies have shown that PRT can also help adolescents and young adults.
Verbal Behavioral Therapy (VBT) teaches communication using the (ABA) technique and the theories from B.F Skinner. This type of therapy motivates a child by connecting their words with a purpose. The child learns that by using their words, they are more likely to get what they want. The children learn how to use their language if they want to make a request. Many studies have supported this therapy, while others need more research to confirm its effectiveness.
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References
Dryden-Edwards, R. (n.d.). Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): Symptoms, Behavior, Causes, Treatment. Retrieved March 27, 2018, from https://www.emedicinehealth.com/autism/article_em.htm
Peters-Scheffer, N., Didden, R., Korzilius, H., ; Sturmey, P. (2011). A meta-analytic study on the effectiveness of comprehensive ABA-based early intervention programs for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 5(1), 60-69. doi:10.1016/j.rasd.2010.03.011
doi:10.1016/j.rasd.2010.03.011Most Successful Autism Treatments Behaviorally Based, Report Says. (2013, January 11). Retrieved March 27, 2018, from https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2009/09/22/autism-treatment-report/5497/
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Tables
Table 1
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