Management of autism is multimodal. As 75% of children are found to have mental retardation educational interventions are important. As there is a delay in language development, speech therapy is necessary for improvement of outcome. Sensory integration and social skills training are some of the other methods used.
Medical management is also one of the modalities of treatment. While it is not curative, it helps to control symptoms especially of irritability, hyperactivity and self injurious behaviour. These symptoms may also interfere with other modalities of treatment and hence require treatment.
Occupational therapy is defined by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) as a “skilled treatment that helps individuals achieve independence in all facets of their lives. Occupational therapy assists people in developing the ‘skills for the job of living’ necessary for independent and satisfying lives”.
Autism is a “spectrum disorder”, meaning that there is a wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of impairments or disability that children with ASD can have. Some children are mildly impaired by their symptoms, while others are severely affected. Autism often goes undiagnosed until the child is way past the formative years of his/her life. It can be partly blamed on the lack of awareness about the condition and also, negligence or denial on the part of parents to recognize apparent differences in the child.
Most individuals with Autism show several behavior issues. Individuals with Autism exhibit difficulties in learning everyday behaviors that are necessary for the social, academic, and personal development. They lack internal motivation and ability to learn from their environment. Instead they engage in various excess and harmful behaviors. Sometimes it may appear that they are lost in their own world. They may be detached from their surroundings and people around them.
Most of the children of Autism have Sensory Integration (SI) issues which come in between their ability to learn and respond to environment appropriately. Some of the problems related to SI dysfunction are Hyperactivity, oversensitivity to touch/ smell/ sound, being scared of moving equipments / scare to climb down stairs, poor eye contact, they also has lack of awareness about own body or about the surrounding and kind of lost in own word, motor mannerism, poor imitation skills, lack of appropriate play behavior etc. Children might show this behavior which are not just behavior but it has sensory and neurological base which need to be addressed at that sensory level rather working on superficial behavior level. Such as forcing child to rock/ or climb down stairs when they getting panicked about it.
The communication is a process in which the ideas in one’s mind is transferred to the other, either verbally or non- verbally. The Speech Language Pathologist along with other professionals works to remove obstructions in the flow of messages. This helps in the successful transfer of messages. Speech and language are two important component of communication.
Language is used to communicate our feelings, thoughts and needs with other people. Language can be either communicated verbally or non verbally. In verbal communication we use vocal symbols.