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Supportive Therapy Options Available for Autism

April is Autism Awareness Month. A behavioral analyst highlights the latest supportive therapy options available for individuals diagnosed with autism.

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Reports show that one in 36 children in the United States have autism. There is no cure, but there are different supportive therapy options available. Image for illustration purposes
Reports show that one in 36 children in the United States have autism. There is no cure, but there are different supportive therapy options available. Image for illustration purposes
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CLEVELAND CLINIC – April is Autism Awareness Month.

Reports show that one in 36 children in the United States have autism.

There is no cure, but there are different supportive therapy options available.

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For example, applied behavioral analysis.

“Behavior analysis is the scientific approach where we try to understand behavior. So, why are we seeing the things we’re seeing? We take the principles of behavior and use those to improve socially significant behaviors,” explained Chiara Graver, M.A., behavioral analyst for Cleveland Clinic Children’s. “Those are behaviors that would impact an individual’s access to the community that might pose a safety risk, that might inhibit their ability to learn.”

Graver said cognitive behavioral therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy are also very common.

The same goes for educational support.

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And as far as medications go, there isn’t anything specifically designed for autism, but there are drugs that can help with certain symptoms.

So, how do you know which form of therapy is best for your child?

Graver said it really depends on their individual needs, which is why she recommends doing plenty of research, consulting with your child’s provider and building connections with other families in the autism community.

“Sometimes we say autism treatment and there is no treatment for autism, and we’re not trying to treat autism. We’re trying to manage some of the more difficult symptoms of autism. So, with communication, we’re trying to improve that communication for the individual,” said Graver. “If they’re having behaviors that are really difficult or impeding their safety, we’re trying to replace those with more appropriate behaviors. We’re not trying to change anything about who that child is.”

Research is ongoing to determine what factors could be causing autism.

However, Graver said there does appear to be a genetic and environmental connection.

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