Therapy for aspergers: The request could not be satisfied
Asperger’s Syndrome: Management & Treatment
What is Asperger’s syndrome?
Asperger’s syndrome (sometimes called high-functioning autism) is part of a wide diagnosis called autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Since 2013, Asperger’s syndrome is replaced by the broader diagnosis of ASD within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) revised criteria.
People with ASD have difficulty with socializing and social skills. They tend to have narrow range of interests, rigid routines and will often show repetitive behavior (such as flapping their hands).
Asperger’s syndrome, as defined before 2013, was different than other ASDs because people with Asperger’s have average or higher-than-average language and intelligence levels.
Diagnosis and Tests
Who diagnoses Asperger’s syndrome?
An ASD diagnosis should be made by professionals specifically trained for it. Often pediatricians are best equipped to accurately examine a child’s pattern of development and their relative strengths and weaknesses. These professionals include:
- Pediatricians (doctors specializing in treating children).
- Child psychologists or psychiatrists (both can specialize in ASD).
- Neurologists (doctors specializing in the brain and nerves).
- Therapists (clinical or behavioral).
You may need to see one or more of these specialists while trying to get a diagnosis. The process may take some time, but it can help you learn more and find additional support networks.
Management and Treatment
What types of treatments are available for Asperger’s syndrome?
Treatment for ASD should be designed to meet you or your child’s needs. The best treatment in the world won’t work if a child or adult doesn’t agree that it’s best for them. A good treatment plan builds on their strengths and encourages growth in areas where they have difficulty. Progress should be continually monitored and treatment adjusted as necessary to continue to help them succeed in school, work and life.
Can medications treat Asperger’s symptoms?
There are no drugs specifically prescribed for ASD. Some people with Asperger’s or related conditions are able to function well in life without taking any medications. Whether or not your healthcare provider prescribes medication depends on you or your child’s symptoms. Focusing on treating only the problematic symptoms also helps to lower the number of medications you or your child is taking.
Certain types of medications can help manage severe Asperger’s symptoms or related conditions. These medications include:
These and other medications have potentially serious side effects so speak with your provider about whether they’re right for you or your child.
How can children with Asperger’s syndrome be more comfortable in school?
Children and teens with Asperger’s syndrome and related conditions often struggle at school. It can be difficult to learn while having trouble focusing or staying calm. To help them learn more easily, some children with these conditions can benefit from (or need) special education or accommodations at school.
For example, parents and teachers can work together to create an individual education program (IEP). Based on your child’s symptoms, their school will decide if an IEP is needed. IEPs allow for a more suitable classroom environment including:
- Regular daily routines (to help students focus and keep calm).
- ‘Milestone’ academic goals (passing physical education, or getting a certain score on major tests).
- Study guides or customized lesson plans (using headphones with audio lessons, for example).
- Social skills (joining groups and not interrupting others).
- Self-control techniques (not having tantrums or hitting).
Depending on their difficulties at school, children may also be eligible for special education services including counseling and special dietary needs. Learn about IEPs and other at-school support by asking your child’s teacher, guidance counselor or principal.
Is there a cure for Asperger’s syndrome?
Currently there is no cure for ASD. Nor are there any home remedies or herbal supplements proven to cure Asperger’s syndrome or related conditions.
But several non-surgical treatments exist to help manage many of the condition’s symptoms including depression, social anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Therapy (including speech therapy for young children and cognitive behavioral therapy for adults) is another good alternative for exploring ways to improve quality of life for you, your child or your students.
Many people with Asperger’s syndrome say that therapy helped them to deal with their symptoms or other problems. Therapy providers for children and adults with Asperger’s syndrome include:
- Physical therapists: Physical therapy can help improve coordination and balance. It can also help them to focus better when faced with distracting noises or sights.
- Speech therapists: Speech therapy can improve your ability to speak clearly and at appropriate volumes.
- Occupational therapists: Occupational therapy can help you learn job skills needed to become and stay independent.
- Family or relationship therapists: This type of therapy can help children and adults have healthier relationships with friends and loved ones.
Your healthcare provider can give you suggestions or referrals to these kinds of therapists.
How can someone with Asperger’s syndrome live the best life possible?
Many people diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome and related conditions achieve success in their lives. Others may need some help in finding or keeping work, living arrangements and social relationships. If you have Asperger’s syndrome, you might do best with structured, predictable environments and routines.
Many children, teens and adults with Asperger’s syndrome benefit from social skills groups and behavior intervention, like that offered by Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA). This form of behavioral therapy helps to teach positive behaviors in everyday life.
Is Asperger’s syndrome a disability?
Everyone has a unique personality and different strengths. People with Asperger’s syndrome are no different. But if you or your loved one are finding it difficult to get or keep work due to Asperger’s syndrome symptoms, there is help. You may be able to qualify for disability under the Disability Evaluation Under Social Security Section 12.10, Mental Disorders. For more information, check with your provider and social security contact person.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
If you think that you or your loved one might have Asperger’s syndrome, or if you’re a teacher or caregiver concerned about someone you know, your first step is to contact your healthcare provider. In addition to discussing this with a professional, there is a lot of information about ASD and Asperger’s syndrome that is available, along with information on support groups. It helps always to be open-minded and realize that everyone has strengths and opportunities to improve.
So You Think it May be Asperger’s…Now What? Where to Find the Help You Need – The Asperger / Autism Network (AANE)
If you have just found out – or if you suspect – that you or someone in your care has Asperger’s Syndrome (AS), you may feel as bewildered as Alice in Wonderland, just after she fell down the rabbit hole! It’s a whole new reality now, and you are probably going to need a guide or two to find your way around this new world. You may feel confused and overwhelmed, as you struggle to absorb a lot of new information, to decide what you need to do, and to figure out where to turn for help. You may find yourself asking: “What kind of help do I need? What is the right combination of service and supports to ensure the best possible future for me, or for my child? And where can I turn to obtain these services? What kinds of people, with what kings of titles and training, can help me most effectively?” Because the good news is, there are a lot of medical and mental health professionals out there – and the bad news is, there are a lot of medical and mental health professionals out there!
To whom should you turn if your kid with AS is driving you or his teachers crazy with his behavior, or if you think you need medication? What are “social pragmatic language” and “sensory integration,” which everyone in the parent support group is talking about? Are these things you or your kid needs- and who can provide those kinds of help? Do you need the services of a psychiatrist, psychologist, neurologist, neurophysiologist, or a psychopharmacologist? A social work, occupational therapist, a developmental or behavioral pediatrician? Yikes! Where do you start?
If you have not already done so, your first priority should be to get an official, properly documented diagnosis. For both adults and children with AS (or other conditions on the autism spectrum), the diagnosis serves as your starting point for securing future treatment, service, and support. For children, the diagnosis is essential for obtaining services from public schools; these services will be outlines in an Individualized Educational Plan (or “IEP”). The AS diagnosis may help adults qualify for important social security benefits, housing, or employment assistance from agencies like Mass Rehab. To obtain a diagnosis, you will probably need to get an evaluation from a neurophysiologist, psychiatrist, psychologist, or…– but be sure that this professional also has experience with AS. Don’t be shy! If you suspect you or your child has AS, be sure to ask about the professional’s degree of past experience with AS. This professional will administer a range of cognitive and projective tests to determine the diagnosis. The same person will also write up a formal report, which will be an important tool for communicating with the school system or government agencies from which you will be requesting services.
Once you have the diagnosis, you will probably wish to have the support and expertise of one or more professionals who can help with specific issues. AS is a very complex condition; individuals with AS differ widely in their needs—the needs of each “Aspie” (individual with AS) will probably change significantly over time. Most individuals or families whose lives are affected by AS benefit a lot from having one knowledgeable professional who gets to know you or your child well, follows the Aspie’s progress over time, sees the “big picture,” and can help you choose which interventions and therapies will be most helpful in the current situation or stage of development. This person might be a social worker, a psychiatrist, behavioral psychologist, and education consultant. He or she should be someone who knows a lot about AS, and with whom you have a friendly and mutually respectful relationship, so that you can call them with questions or problems as they come up. This person may also be able to serve as an advocate for you or your child, since personnel in school systems and government agencies sometimes respond better to other professionals who “speak their language” or have clout.
Let us introduce you to some professionals who work with people with AS, and who may be helpful to you. We have asked a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a social worker and a neurophysiologist, and member of a developmental team, to describe their role in supporter and serving someone with AS. Others in the same profession may offer different services or take a different approach, but we hope that the essays below will prove helpful, and we thank all our contributors.
This list of professionals that can help the individual with Asperger’s Syndrome and their family is by no means complete. Hopefully this article will serve as a guide indicating where to start looking for an appropriate professional. Individual choices will necessarily be based on logistics, cost, and your personal rapport with the doctor.
Besides those who wrote for us, other therapist may be enlisted to help with specific develop-mental problems, such as a speech and language pathologist for language therapy/social skills training, or an occupational therapist for ameliorating sensory integration and motor/coordination difficulties. (Maybe we can hear from some of these professionals in future issues of the newsletter.) For a child, these services will often be provided through the public school system. (However, you may need to advocate strongly to get them included in the IEP. If the school resists, you may need an educational advocate or, as a last resort, a lawyer experienced in special education/Chapter 766 laws, to make sure the student gets all the services he or she needs.).
If the school does not provide service your child needs, you may need to seek a private provider. AANE staff, or other families, may be able to help you find someone in your area. Call AANE, talk to the parent in one of our face-to-face support groups, call a parent from the AANE Parent Networking List, or post your problem on AANE’s interactive message board.
|AANE’S SYNOPSIS OF PRIVATE PROFESSIONALS|
|For an Initial Diagnosis, Evaluation or Re-evaluation:Psychiatrist (some)
Neurologist (usally to rule out other neurological issues, although some may give a diagnosis)Behavioral Issues:Social Worker
Clinical PsychologistSpeech Pragmatics / Social Skills:Speech and Language Pathologist
Sensory Issues:Speech and Language Pathologist
PsychiatristFamily Issues:Social Worker
Issues with School Providing Services
766 AdvocateHelp Figuring out What to Do in School:Educational Consultant
Employment Issues:Employment Specialist
Interdisciplinary Team Assessments
The Social Worker
By: Linda Weisberg, LICSW, Newton, MA
Social workers can assist individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome in a number of ways depending upon their age, level of cognitive ability, range of symptom severity, and family concerns.
Social workers provide supportive counseling to parents of young children whose diagnosis is unclear during the preschool years. This uncertainty creates significant stress for parents. Counseling can help parent cope with the wide range of emotions they experience during the diagnostic process and afterwards when the child with Asperger’s Syndrome attends early intervention programs and elementary school. Social workers also aid families in finding appropriate respite care, recreational opportunities, and psychiatric service if medication for the child or other family members is needed.
Many social workers focus on the individual with Asperger’s Syndrome in the context of the family. They are well aware of sibling issues and the strains on the parents’ relationship and help by providing marital counseling, parent guidance and behavior management strategies. Extended family members such as grandparents may not understand the problems of raising a child with Asperger’s Syndrome, and the social worker might recommend a family meeting to help ease tensions.
Adolescents with Asperger’s Syndrome face a number of challenges. A social worker may help them to channel their individual interests to better understand their social relationships and sexuality. As families begin to consider plans for their children beyond high school, social workers provide counseling to ease the transition and to also identify educational and vocational programs and housing options available to young adults.
Independent living and sustaining employment or performing adequately in a supportive job placement can often present challenges for adults with Asperger’s Syndrome. Social workers can offer supportive counseling and clinical case management.
Clinical case management is a directed form of assistance by a social worker, who with the client’s permission, coordinates vocational, residential, and social programs. Family members are usually involved. Supportive counseling for both adolescents and adults with Asperger’s Syndrome includes learning to interpret social situations in order to improve social skills and to appropriately manage work responsibilities.
Social workers may bill insurance companies or an HMO for their services if they are members of provider panels. It is necessary to check with the particular social worker to ascertain if he/she can bill your particular insurance plan. Otherwise, it is possible to pay privately, and some practitioners might offer an extended payment plan or sliding fee.
To find a social worker who can assist you, call the Social Work Referral Service of the Massachusetts chapter of the National Association of Social Workers at 617-720-2828. Also your physician, local school system or local Asperger association might assist with a referral to a social worker.
By: Teresa M. Kohlenberg, M.D, Belmont, MA
The psychiatrist is a medical doctor who has trained in the diagnosis and treatment of emotional disorders, using both “talking” therapy and medication. Psychiatrists usually complete at least a year of basic medical training (internship) and three years training in mental health care of adults, after which Child Psychiatrist add two years training with children and adolescents. There are also some Child Psychiatrists who initial training is in Pediatrics. Child Psychiatry training provides a great exposure to the developmental issues involved in Asperger’s Syndrome and related disorders, as well as the different medications available and their proper use in children. Many (but not all) psychiatrists who work with children with these disorders have gotten additional training or exposure in specialized settings.
What a child psychiatrist offers depends to a certain degree on their training and areas of expertise. The following list starts with the services more child psychiatrist offer, then includes services some, but not all, will offer.
- Perform a thorough evaluation of a child’s/adolescent’s emotional functioning.
- Make a diagnosis of AS and associated emotional or behavioral disorders.
- Suggest further appropriate medical and psychological testing.
- Prescribe and monitor medication as part of a treatment team.
- Provide ongoing individual or group therapy to the child.
- Provide family treatment, developmental a behavioral guidance and support to parents.
- Outline a comprehensive treatment plan in collaboration with psychologists, educators, social workers, and other involved in the child’s care.
- Provide consultation to the schools and attend planning meetings.
- Advocate for the child and family with schools and other agencies.
By: Gary Eisenhower, Ed. M, Marblehead, MA
Appropriate treatment planning for a child with Asperger’s Syndrome involved a constellation of individuals-including informed parents, teachers, psychopharmacists, pediatric neurologists, behavioral psychologists, neurophysiologists, clinical psychologists, etc. In my experience, it seems that the clinical psychologist often plays a coordinating role in the overall treatment plan for the child with Asperger’s.
The clinical psychologist may be initially involved in the diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome and associated disorders. Common secondary diagnoses include ADHD, depression, generalized anxiety, or more specific anxiety disorders such as OCD or panic attacks. Treatment of these disorders involves specific therapies and consultation with other professionals.
The clinical psychologist also must help identify and reduce stressors in the environments in which the child functions. As stress is lowered generally around the child with Asperger’s, the child will be able utilize his/her own talents and interests, rather than having to generate inappropriate defenses against troublesome stressors. At a minimum, this will include necessary informational discussions with the child’s family and school regarding appropriate expectations for peer group interactions, family interactions, learning style, etc. Family therapy, Chapter 504 plans, special education plans and summer planning are common interventions at this level of treatment.
The clinical psychologist will likely be involved with the child and family for several year, sometimes on a monitoring relationship two or three times a year, sometimes doing family therapy, and sometimes more frequently and regularly with the child as new concerns may emerge.
By: Suzanne Dowdall, Ph. D, Wellesley, MA
And Kathleen Curran Ph. D, Newton, MA
A neuropsychologist is a licensed psychologist who has received a doctorate (Ph D., Psy. D, or Ed. M) signifying extensive instruction and supervised training, and has received additional specialized training in behavioral, psychological and emotional aspects of neurological disorders. The work they perform includes diagnosis, treatment, as well as consultation regarding a variety of disorders, including Asperger’s.
Evaluative tools employed by neuropsychologists include interviews with both the client and significant others, observations, as well as a wide array of ‘standardized’ tests where and individual’s performance can be compared with their peers) and may include academic and personality tests. This information is integrated to paint a complete diagnostic picture of neuropsychological strengths and weaknesses in a variety or areas (for instance: social-emotional functioning, expressive and receptive language skills, visual/spatial organization, problem solving, memory and learning, attention). Recommendations are created and neuropsychologists will often work collaboratively with a variety of other professionals to share and communicate their findings.
Basing their work on an understanding of the impact of brain functioning on behavior, thinking, learning, and emotion, neuropsychologists are able to help individuals, their families, and other working with them to capitalize on strengths and address difficulties.
The Interdisciplinary Team Assessments for Children with AS
By: Ellen Perrin at the Center for Children with Special Needs, New England Medical Center, Boston MA.
An interdisciplinary team evaluation aims to identify children’s strengths and weaknesses in medical, cognitive, emotional, academic, linguistic, social, motor, and sensory domains, and to integrate them into a coherent picture.
Most interdisciplinary teams are compromised of some combination of developmental-behavioral pediatricians, psychologists, or neuropsychologists, educational specialists, speech/language pathologists, clinical social workers, physical therapists and occupational therapists. An advantage of working with an integrated team is that the information and advice that you will be give is consistent and not contradictory.
Developmental-behavioral pediatricians take a long-term development and ecological view of children and families, and are particularly familiar with the necessity to work together with other professionals and parents. They also can evaluate and treat some of the psychiatric symptoms that often contribute to children’s difficulties. Developmental behavioral pediatricians may be especially helpful in pulling together the various evaluations and recommendations, and in following the child’s and family’s progress over time. Psychologists evaluate the child’s cognitive or intellectual strengths and weaknesses and can identify aspects of the child’s learning and emotional style. Children with AS are often quite bright, but may have subtle organizational problems or rigid thinking styles that affect independent work, organization, written output, and abstract thinking. Educational specialists look at children’s academic skill development in reading, writing, spelling, and mathematics. This assessment helps to determine what educational interventions will be most likely to be effective.
Many children and adults with AS have difficulty with pragmatic language, that is the ability to use language appropriately for social communication and reciprocal social interaction. Speech/language pathologists look at the child’s language functioning, not only in terms of linguistic development and receptive and expressive language, but in the areas of higher-order language and pragmatics. Physical and occupational therapists evaluate and help children to improve the motor clumsiness or visual-motor integration problems which affect their strength, tone, ability to participate in sports and writing tasks in school, and address their sensory integration problems.
Clinical social workers assess how the child is functioning at home and the stressors his/her difficulties may be causing within the family. They help the family identify these issues, provide individual and family therapy, assist with information about resources and referrals to community agencies, and provide support and advice for advocating within the school system.
The advantage of a team of professionals who work together is that you will get one comprehensive evaluation with recommendations that are consistent with each other.
Treatments for Adults With High-Functioning Autism
Autism spectrum disorder is sometimes only diagnosed later in life when symptoms start to interfere with daily activities. Symptoms may include:
- Difficulty with social communication
- Some level of sensitivity to sensory input
- A need for sameness, repetition, and order
Some adults with milder forms of autism are also likely to be focused on a specific area of interest and have a hard time engaging with others outside of that interest.
If you’re an adult with those symptoms, you may already have an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis. Or, like many people, you may be wondering whether you should consider seeking a diagnosis.
If you’re on the fence, or not sure whether treatment is likely to be helpful now that you’re an adult, it’s important to know what’s available and what isn’t.
Verywell / Theresa Chiechi
If you’re an adult with mild symptoms of autism, you may already have figured out how to navigate the adult despite the challenges. In that case, you may ask yourself if you really need treatment at all.
Autism isn’t a disease, and it’s not degenerative, so there’s neither a physical need nor an ethical obligation to do anything about it. It’s only when the symptoms affect your quality of life that treatment may be a reasonable option.
Goals of Treatment
Treatments for autism spectrum disorder are really only useful if they can improve your ability to navigate your world successfully. They may reduce your anxiety, improve your functional skills, and help manage your emotions appropriately.
Seeking treatment may also introduce you to a world of professionals and support groups who better understand the challenges of living with autism.
An informed treatment program is not meant to “cure” your autism; there’s nothing to cure. Rather, it’s meant to provide you with a framework to better understand your difficulties and strengths.
It is only by placing your autism in context—namely, in relation to all of the different conditions that make up your quality of life—that positive changes can be identified and made. This includes leisure interests, social activities, health, employment, and family.
In addition to working on personal goals, treatment may often involve addressing family issues. This includes repairing rifts in which family members are no longer talking, often because of their lack of understanding about the nature and dynamics of autism.
In some cases, family relations can strengthen if members work together to better understand and live with autism, not as a disease but as a condition.
Forms of Treatment
Children with any level of autism usually receive certain forms of treatment in school. Oftentimes, they’ll receive physical, occupational, and speech therapy along with some type of social skills training and behavior support.
If they over- or under-react to sensory input, their parents might also sign them up for sensory integration therapy. As they get older, they might get involved with social skills groups and cognitive therapy.
While some of these therapies are appropriate for adults, treatment really depends upon how someone feels about receiving an autism diagnosis.
For adults wanting to pursue therapy, a treatment plan may involve one or several of the same modalities used in children. Medication may also be considered, if appropriate.
Services and Support
Once an adult has a bona fide autism spectrum diagnosis, there are a number of resources available to them. They can ask their diagnostician to write a report that clearly outlines diagnostic issues, IQ, and adaptive behaviors.
With a written diagnosis from your doctor, adults with autism can often qualify for state and federal services, including health insurance assistance, vocational training, job placement, and, in some cases, even housing.
In tandem with professional help, many adults with autism benefit from “do it yourself” therapy. Adults with high-functioning autism have access to books, support groups, conferences, and other resources that provide insight, ideas, and information on all aspects of life on the autism spectrum.
Newly diagnosed adult with autism seeks therapy advice
“I’m a newly diagnosed 47-year-old with autism. What kind of treatments can help me?”
Today’s “Got Questions?” answer is from psychologist Megan Farley of the Waisman Center for developmental disabilities at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Dr. Farley received an Autism Speaks research grant to study the factors that help or hinder the development and success of adults with autism.
This is both a great question and a difficult one to answer. Currently we have far too little in the way of evidence-based treatments for adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
We have a small handful of treatment strategies that have been clinically evaluated and found to be effective for helping adolescents and young adults with autism. At the University of Texas, for example, researchers have successfully used a virtual reality training program to improve social skills among young adults with autism. The PEERS program has likewise shown promise for teaching social skills to young adults with autism.
Finding adult autism programs in your community
While we have few scientifically tested therapy and support programs for adults with autism, many clinicians, parents, community providers and adults with ASD are developing such programs in their communities. One place to look for therapy and support programs is in the Autism Speaks Resource Library for Adults. Another way to search for these programs is through the state-by-state Autism Speaks Resource Guide. (Click the resource-guide link, select your state, and look for the adult resources at the top of the page.) And you can download Is It Autism and If So, What Next? A Guide for Adults, which was designed to help adults who suspect they may have autism, as well as those recently diagnosed with the disorder. This kit will provide an overview of autism to help you better understand the disorder and will hopefully clarify whether you should seek out a professional for a thorough evaluation.
For live help with these resources, you can call or email the Autism Speaks Autism Response Team and ask for its adult-services specialist: 888-288-4762 (en Español 888-772-9050) or [email protected]
General guidelines for finding the help you need
Beyond autism-specific programs and therapies, I can offer you some general recommendations based on my clinical experience, that of my colleagues and that of the many adults with autism with whom I’ve had the privilege to work.
First, it’s important to consider what type of help you need. Every individual with autism is unique in terms of his or her challenges and strengths.
Typically adults with autism come to a mental health clinic because they’re struggling with one or more issues. Common autism-related challenges include social isolation, finding and keeping a job or a romantic partner, anxiety or mood problems or an inability to organize one’s life.
For mood or anxiety problems, I recommend seeing a psychiatrist for a medical consultation and a psychologist or social worker for individual therapy or group counseling. Ideally you want someone experienced in helping adults who have autism. So ask for such expertise when you contact a therapist or mental health clinic.
Beyond autism-specific therapy
Unfortunately, not every community has adult autism specialists. If yours does not, I recommend finding a counselor who seems sincerely interested in learning more about autism in general and your experience in particular.
In addition, it’s important to understand that both psychologists and social workers can vary widely in the approach they use in counseling. In my experience, most individuals with autism do best with therapy that takes a concrete, skill-building approach. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a good example of this type of therapy. (More about cognitive behavioral therapy for autism)
I also suggest that you consider bringing along someone who knows and cares about you for at least part of the therapy session. In my experience, many adults with autism have difficulty explaining their challenges. Someone who knows you well may be able to help you and the therapist zero in on the behaviors that are creating problems and develop strategies to address them.
You might also want to consider group therapy or classes for those who have difficulty with social interactions. Learning social skills in a group can be particularly helpful because participants can share observations and suggestions. Your therapist or social worker may be able to recommend such a group in your community.
If you’re seeking help finding and keeping a job, you can find additional help through your state’s vocational rehabilitation agency. These agencies have the mission of helping adults with disabilities – including autism – prepare for and find appropriate employment. Also, the Autism Speaks Employment Tool Kit was designed to help you research, find and keep employment.
Finally, I recommend you look to the community of adults with autism. There are several good websites that provide information and forums for adults with ASD. One such site is WrongPlanet. Another is the Global & Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership (GRASP).
Thanks for your question. I hope these tips prove helpful to you and other readers. You can download Is It Autism and If So, What Next? A Guide for Adults here. Please let us know how you’re doing by emailing us at [email protected]
Got more questions? Send them to [email protected] Subscribe to Autism Speaks Science Digest to get “Got Questions?” blogs and all our research news and perspective delivered to your inbox.
Speech Therapy for Aspergers Syndrome
Asperger’s syndrome is presently considered to be under the umbrella of all types of Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD. Those with Asperger syndrome used to be referred to as people with “high-functioning autism”, but that phrasing has been swapped out.
This doesn’t mean that people with this syndrome don’t encounter unique challenges and difficulties. Asperger’s syndrome therapy and treatment can help those who have it manage some of the more complicated parts of their disorder. These include speech and communication.
If you or a family member have Asperger’s syndrome and you’re seeking speech therapy, you’re in the right place to learn. Keep reading to learn more about how speech therapy can help people with Asperger’s and other kinds of ASD learn to manage their conditions.
How Does Asperger’s Syndrome Impact Speech?
As we mentioned, Asperger’s syndrome is currently considered a type of autism spectrum disorder. Asperger’s is considered “high functioning”. The challenges that someone with Asperger’s syndrome faces is going to be different from others with ASD.
Many people on the autism spectrum are nonverbal or they have difficulty forming words. They may have a hard time understanding simple spoken language. They may need to learn sign language. ASD can create many issues with communication.
Asperger’s syndrome, however, is different.
This type of ASD has fewer communication hurdles, though they are still present. People with this condition may have trouble with literal vs figurative speech. They may not handle sarcasm well, and figures of speech can be confusing.
Their speech patterns are also often different, making them confusing for their peers. They may have different modulations in tone and voice than someone without ASD.
They may also find it challenging to start new conversations or enter into a conversation that’s already happening.
These issues are largely related to difficulty perceiving social cues.
How Can Speech Therapy Help?
Speech therapy for those with this kind of ASD might function differently than speech therapy for other types. The speech is already developed, it’s just different. More of the work is done on communication.
Online speech therapy is going to focus more on emotions and self-regulation than the typical “speech therapy” that comes to mind.
There are issues unique to “high-functioning autism” and Asperger’s syndrome that can benefit from speech therapy.
Coping Mechanisms for Emotional Regulation
Coping mechanisms are an important part of any speech class for those with Asperger’s syndrome.
Many people aren’t provided the appropriate skills to manage their emotions. Parents aren’t given a guidebook to teach these skills. People don’t grow up with them pre-installed.
Speech therapy can help teach people on the spectrum strategies and tools that can help with that emotional regulation.
Some of these coping mechanisms are going to be calming skills. Calming skills are important for “bad” emotions. These emotions are going to be the ones that most get in the way of productive communication amongst peers.
While this isn’t a traditional speech therapy area, it’s an important one. Learning to stay calm in stressful situations is a key part of communicating.
An Explanation of Feelings
Some people with Asperger’s syndrome may struggle with big and small feelings. They may need help understanding their place in communication.
It’s important for a good speech program to help people on the autism spectrum understand that their feelings are normal. This is true even though the classes are focusing on regulating and controlling them.
No class should imply that the feelings are in any way “wrong”. The feelings are things that need to be lived with and managed in order to have a healthy social life.
Social Communication Skills
Some skills that those with Asperger’s syndrome need are social. Social group skills can be helpful even when they’re being handled online.
It’s important for those with ASD to understand their emotions. It’s also important to teach those on the spectrum how to understand the emotions of others. They also need to learn how to be a friend to others through healthy communication and general good etiquette.
They should understand things like bullying and peer pressure and how to manage these situations in a real-life context.
Conversational skills are an important subgroup of social communication skills. These can help people with Asperger’s syndrome communicate more easily in groups.
These skills might help the learner modulate their speech more effectively. This helps them communicate smoothly with peers. They can help the learner enter and sustain conversations with less anxiety.
When successful, speech therapy also helps those with Asperger’s syndrome understand and apply less literal forms of speech. While they may never fully adapt to these, they can navigate them.
The therapy might teach the learner about how to interpret kinds of speech that might otherwise be confusing. These include idioms, sarcasm, and figures of speech.
Conversational skills can also discuss politeness. When is it appropriate to speak when in a group situation? How do you handle difficult conversations and interactions, and when is it okay to leave to self-regulate?
These are skills that many people have “built-in” but those on the spectrum need some extra help.
Asperger’s Syndrome Can Be Aided by Speech Therapy
Speech therapy can help people with Asperger’s syndrome. While those with this condition are verbal and have an easier time communicating than others with ASD, they still have some difficulties in crucial areas of interpersonal communication.
If your child has communication difficulties, don’t rule out speech therapy just because it doesn’t seem right. Online speech therapy is good for all different kinds of learners and patients, and “speech” isn’t just verbal. Learning communication skills is just as important.
For more information on how to help your loved one through speech therapy, visit our site.
Pediatric Therapy Options for Aspergers Syndrome
What is Asperger syndrome (AS)? It’s a developmental disorder characterized by having more difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, along with repetitive and restricted patterns of behavior and interests. Nonverbal communication could be anything that is expressed through gestures, facial expressions, tone of voice, eye contact, body language, posture, and so on.
At a milder end of the autism spectrum disorder, individuals with Asperger syndrome have relatively normal language and intelligence. In some cases, physical clumsiness and unusual use of language could also be seen with Asperger syndrome.
Social interaction skills are a big challenge for kids with Asperger syndrome. Listed below are some Asperger therapy options to help children overcome struggles they may face.
1. Developmental, Play & Relationship-Based Intervention
The parent or caregiver plays a key role in this type of intervention. Positive engagement is highly recommended while facilitating positive playful interactions, which contributes to developing social and emotional growth.
2. Social Skills Training / Social Participation Interventions
This type of training helps kids with Aspergers to establish positive peer relationships, promoting peer acceptance and friendship development, and hence facilitating successful interaction and adaptation within the social context.
3. Mindfulness-Based Approaches
Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non judgmentally such as mediation, breathing exercise, yoga, and progressive muscle relaxation can help reduce stress levels and regulate emotions.
4. Cognitive-Behavioral Approaches
The cognitive-behavioral approach focuses on changing underlying thoughts and/or feelings in order to change behavior. This approach encourages behavioral regulation and emotional regulation, which improves social skills. Some widely used techniques include:
- Replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts
- Rehashing further situations
- Identifying current state of emotions using blue/yellow/green/red zone
- Grading exposure to increasingly difficult situations.
5. Exercise & Movement Interventions
Forming a small group with fun activities could help improve social skills. Focus on reciprocal play encourages initiation and creativity skills through exposure of different exercises. Some fun interactive exercises include:
- Twister games
- fitness decks
- Catching balls
- Jumping jacks
In addition to helping strengthen the body and improve coordination, these exercises also open up the bridge between the child and the outside world.
About the Author
Geoffrey Chein grew up in Taiwan and always enjoyed working with kids. When he found out about NAPA Center, he immediately fell in love with the big NAPA family and was glad to find a “one stop shop” for all contemporary therapies. Outside of the clinic, he enjoys spending time with his dog and his husband, exploring different restaurants and will even travel out-of-state for a nice medium rare steak!
Learn About Causes, Behaviors, and Signs of Autism and Asperger – How Therapy Can Help with Autism and Asperger’s
There is no “cure” for autism, but treatment can be helpful. Treatment may focus on managing behavior issues. Therapy is another often helpful approach. A therapist may adjust treatments to fit personal needs.
Medication can also help with some symptoms of autism. People may use it for anxiety, obsessions and compulsions, or behavior issues. Medication could also help with seizures related to autism.
Treatment may work better the earlier autism is diagnosed. Medical and mental health professionals can notice signs of autism. They can also explain which treatments may be helpful. If you think your child shows signs of autism, you might look for a child therapist. They can give a diagnosis and find the best treatment for your child.
Therapists can also help with less severe forms of ASD. The condition once known as Asperger’s (AS) is one of these. Therapists can help people with AS learn coping strategies and social skills.
How to Get Help with Autism
Diagnoses of autism have increased in recent years. As a result, treatment for ASD can begin at younger ages. Early treatment has been shown to help people better manage their symptoms.
Treatment can be very effective at an early age. But finding help for autism may still be a challenge. It is important to find a therapist if you think your child could have ASD. A health care professional may be able to help you notice signs of ASD early.
A therapist can help your child learn to manage behavior issues. Children can also learn life skills and coping strategies in therapy. These tools can equip someone with ASD for social interaction. Make sure to find a therapist that understands ASD. They should have experience working with autistic people. Your doctor may refer you to a therapist or counselor with these skills.
How to Get Help with Asperger’s
People with Asperger’s may have higher level social skills than others with ASD. But AS can still impact a person’s life. Those with Asperger’s can have a difficult time with social norms. This can make it harder for them to fit in or find friends. They may have feelings of isolation or loneliness as a result.
Getting help with Asperger’s can be difficult. People with AS may have social anxiety. This can make them afraid of reaching out for help. Once they are in treatment, they may also have trouble with self-expression. This can make progress in traditional types of therapy harder. The issues for which they want help may often keep them from being able to seek it.
Finding a therapist that has experience with Asperger’s is key. These therapists can adapt their approach to suit the needs of the person in therapy. A therapist working with someone with ASD might use more visual information. The person with ASD is then likely to be more engaged. When people are engaged, they are more likely to make progress in therapy. This is no different for people with autism.
Therapy for autism is not always for the person with the diagnosis. ASD can impact the well-being of the whole family. A few ways autism can affect a family include:
- Challenges with communication
- Different sleep patterns
- Bonding difficulties
- Financial problems
- Trouble with routines or behavior
Modes of Therapy for Autism
Family therapy helps some families cope with these issues. It may help them address problems as they come up. They may come to better understand the needs of the family member with ASD.
Parents of children with ASD can benefit from couples therapy. They may work on strengthening their own relationship. Parents can also focus on their own resilience. They might choose to build their skills for managing family dynamics.
Group therapy can also be helpful for parents of children with autism. It can connect them with peers who have similar experiences. One study showed that families of children with ASD benefited from group therapy. After the study, they had lower stress levels and felt more empowered.
These therapeutic modes are not always available or an option. In these cases, some try computer-based approaches. Online therapy or computer programs can simulate talk therapy. This can help people with ASD for whom social interaction is difficult. Children with ASD may also use computer-based systems for learning. This approach tailors education to a child’s learning style.
Types of Therapy for Autism
Different types of therapy can be helpful for people with autism. Applied behavioral analysis is one approach that is often succesful. Professionals consider age when choosing the right treatment method. They also account for the severity of the case. Personality and treatment availability can also affect which method will work best.
Some mental health and medical issues can co-occur with autism. Therapy can be helpful in addressing the effects of many of these. People with severe autism may need treatment for medical concerns. Therapy could help them cope with these. Adults with other forms of ASD may also seek therapy. Therapy can help them with issues that occur with autism, such as loneliness or anxiety.
- Talk therapy can help people with autism. It is not always the most helpful method. It may not be possible for people severely impacted by autism. Talk therapy may be most useful for higher-functioning adults. It may help children and adults with ASD address social isolation. Children with ASD may learn how to develop their social skills.
- Applied behavioral analysis (ABA) is often an effective treatment. It has been used to treat autism since the 1960s. ABA can help children with autism learn social skills. It does not require an understanding of its deeper concepts. In ABA, a therapist will first identify certain behaviors. They use concepts from behaviorism to teach new behaviors.
- Speech therapy: Some people with autism also have a medical condition. A treatment that addresses both autism and the health issue can be helpful. Speech and language pathologists or other specialists can help treat both.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) looks at beliefs people have about themselves. Forms of CBT are adjusted to be more repetitive, visual, and concrete. These can help people with autism process anxiety or other concerns.
- Music therapy includes engaging with music with a therapist. Music could help people with autism relate to their own or others’ emotions.
- Sensory integration: Autism can impact the processing of sensory information. This may lead to sensory overload. Sensory overload can show in behaviors that some may not understand. Sensory integration can people with ASD regulate sensory input. This can make it easier to manage.
Case Examples of Autism and Asperger’s
- Adolescent boy with autism: David, 12, received his autism diagnosis as an infant. His intellectual skills indicate he has Asperger’s. David wants to sit by his computer all day. He cannot get along with other children at school. Even in a special school, he is isolated from others. David brags often about his supposed intellectual superiority. He has a good, if odd, sense of humor. But he struggles when interacting with other people. His parents bring him to therapy. They hope to “normalize” his behavior “just a little bit.” Thanks to David’s fair intelligence and his wish “to stop getting beat up,” his therapist can make progress with him. The therapist helps David understand he can choose to get along with others. David learns others may offer him something enjoyable. He could joke or talk about shared interests with others. David also starts to work on his social skills. He learns about social cues and how to speak appropriately with others. David’s therapist also works with his parents. Together, they set realistic goals for him. They continue to work on his social skills at a reasonable pace.
- Autistic middle-aged woman in therapy: Jaycine, 39, is autistic. She lives at home with her aging mother. Jaycine’s mother starts to have difficulties handling her dependency. The two enter therapy, but Jaycine cannot participate much. She is almost completely nonverbal. She is not interested in any relationship but the one with her mother, on whom she is dependent. The therapist helps the mother think about her choices. They refer the family to a group home. Jaycine’s mother decides it is time for her to move out. The therapist helps Jaycine’s mother work through feelings of guilt and grief once Jaycine leaves for the group home.
- Anderson, C. (2012, August 16). Cognitive behavioral therapy and autism spectrum disorders. Interactive Autism Network (IAN). Retrieved from https://iancommunity.org/cs/simons_simplex_community/cognitive_behavioral_therapy
- Davis, K., & Dubie, M. (n.d.). Sensory integration: Tips to consider. Retrieved from https://www.iidc.indiana.edu/pages/Sensory-Integration-Tips-to-Consider
- Educational and behavioral therapies. (2014, August 18). Retrieved from https://iancommunity.org/cs/what_do_we_know/educational_and_behavioral_therapies
- Minjarez, M. B., Mercier, E. M., Williams, S. E., & Hardan, A. Y. (2013). Impact of pivotal response training group therapy on stress and empowerment in parents of children with autism. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 15(2), 71-78. Retrieved from http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1098300712449055
- Murray, D. K. (2011). Autism and Learning (Classic Edition). New York, NY: Routledge.
- Norton, P., & Drew, C. (1994). Autism and potential family stressors. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 22(1), 67-76. doi: 10.1080/01926189408251298
- Solomon, A. H., & Chung, B. (2012). Understanding autism: How family therapists can support parents of children with autism spectrum disorders. Family Process, 51(2), 250-264. doi: 10.1111/j.1545-5300.2012.01399.x
- Solomon, M., Ono, M., Timmer, S., & Goodlin-Jones, B. (2008). The effectiveness of parent–child interaction therapy for families of children on the autism spectrum. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38(9), 1767-1776. doi: 10.1007/s10803-008-0567-5
- Wolf, L. C., Noh, S., Fisman, S. N., & Speechley, M. (1989). Brief report: Psychological effects of parenting stress on parents of autistic children. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 19(1), 157-166. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF02212727
90,000 What therapies and treatments are suitable for adults with Asperger Syndrome
Each person with Asperger’s Syndrome and autism is unique, so therapy and other interventions need to be approached individually. This understanding comes at different ages and at different stages of life, which can influence the choice of therapy. Get creative with combining options to make your life easier.
Here are some general ideas for adults with AS and HFA regarding therapies and actions to improve their condition:
- CBT is very effective.
(ref: 1, 2)
- An environment where changes are minimal and the pace of activity is low is more tolerant. It is comfortable in it, it is easier to show your competence there.
- It is important to select a therapist who is well versed in autism (or has a genuine interest in the topic).
- Try different therapies, each person has something different.
- Work for environmental change at work and at home. Both you and people will become more comfortable.
- Explain to people the essence of “disorder” (I prefer the expression “different way of thinking”).Adults with Asperger Syndrome and HFA are the first to educate those around them in families, at work, in communities.
- Attend social skills groups.
- Recognize your weaknesses and work on them with the help of professionals.
- Explain to people the need for periodic “downtime” (ie time to recharge the social battery), but do not abuse it to avoid participating in family or other activities.
- Go to Career Guidance Centers (federally funded centers designed to help people learn new marketable skills, find jobs, and prepare for interviews).
(Russian equivalent: Vocational Guidance Centers)
- Contact a vocational rehabilitation agency in your state. If you are diagnosed with autism, you have a right to help.
(Russian equivalent: Employment Center)
- Disclose your diagnosis with caution. Share only information that is relevant to your situation. If you are not sure what to share, then consult with a trusted person.
- Due to the increased sensory sensitivity, being in certain environments can be unpleasant or unbearable.Change lighting, reduce noise, and wear comfortable clothing.
- Hire people for things that are especially difficult, for example: (a) wealth management, (b) housework, (c) organization and bookkeeping.
- Attend social groups with other adults with Asperger’s and autism. This will reduce isolation, and with practice, the comfort in interacting with other people will increase, and social skills will improve.
- Look for general information about Asperger’s Syndrome and autism as well as information specific to you.
- Be clear about what is difficult for you.
- Know your strengths and build on them boldly.
- Listen to those you trust (family, friends).
- Medication support can reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety that often accompany autism.
- Meet other people with autism, listen and support each other.
- People with Asperger’s Syndrome and HFA tend to communicate most comfortably on the basis of common interests (in such groups little attention is paid to small talk).
- Remember the importance of physical and emotional comfort.
- Psychodynamic therapy is not always helpful.
- Explore different perspectives on autism.
- In the face of the sensory and social demands of daily life, pauses and breaks are indispensable for adults with Asperger’s syndrome and autism.
- Do not blame yourself and others for your condition, it is useless and will not help in any way.
- Train the areas in which you have difficulty, or minimize the need to use them.
- Work with professionals who teach: (a) specific skills and goals, (b) independent living skills, (c) employment-related skills, (d) social skills.
- Be mindful and caring of yourself, experimenting with different coping strategies.
The above material is a translation of the text “Interventions for Adults with Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism”.
Asperger Syndrome Treatment – Mardaleishvili Medical Center
Asperger’s Syndrome – refers to autism spectrum disorders.It is characterized by difficulties in finding a child in society, mental development disorder.
The disease is of varying severity: mild, severe.
Signs of Asperger’s Syndrome in Children
A child with this pathology has impaired interaction with society. Asperger’s Syndrome in children manifests itself in speech disorder. The voice sounds sometimes loud, sometimes quiet. The child does not know how to gesture, has poor facial expressions. Children are often lonely.They find it difficult to make friends, they are offended.
Unlike autistic people, a child with this syndrome wants to be friends with other children. He can communicate with other people if they adjust to him. It is difficult for a toddler with Asperger Syndrome to play as a team.
Such children do not have developed facial expressions, they can stare at one point for a long time, they often have a detached facial expression.
Children with this syndrome are partially in their reality, sometimes they get out of it.There are stereotypes – the repetition of one kind of activity. They have the ability to think outside the box, but they are poor at concentrating attention.
Motor disorders are often expressed: clumsiness, angularity, stereotypes are observed in movements.
This syndrome is distinguished from autism by a good development of intelligence. There are practically no cognitive and speech impairments.
Asperger’s Syndrome: Treatment in Children
The treatment of this disease requires an individual approach to each baby.Pathology is treated with a complex of different techniques.
Prescribed medications – psychotropic drugs: neuroleptics, antidepressants. It is mandatory to work with a psychotherapist, training in social skills, classes with a speech therapist, therapeutic gymnastics.
The child will be adapted to society, with due attention and work. It all depends on the occupation, from a very young age. Children with Asperger’s Syndrome can attend educational institutions. If the right treatment is provided, the child will acquire social skills.
The Mardaleishvili clinic is engaged in diagnostics and treatment of this pathology, it is located in Tbilisi. The doctors of the clinic have a unique technique of cell therapy.
After the transplantation of one’s own cord blood stem cells or bone marrow in our clinic, the positive effect is noticeable immediately, speech disorders are corrected, the child becomes sociable, shows interest in games.
Prices in the clinic are significantly lower than in Europe.
Learn more about treatment in Georgia: make an appointment now!
90,000 Cost of procedures for the correction of childhood autism
Medical Center. Mardaleishvili carries out the correction of childhood autism by the method of stem cell transplantation. The following three programs are available.
1) Transplant of your own stem cells from bone marrow
The procedure takes place with a daily hospitalization and includes:
- Consultation and examination of a transplantologist
- Blood tests
- Consultation of anesthesiologist
- Bone marrow harvesting under general anesthesia by aspiration from the ilium
- Division of stem cells by centrifugation in a density gradient (Ficoll method)
- Suspension of stem cells in isotonic solution or special solution for transfusion
- Introduction of hematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cells intrathecally and / or intravenously
- Final consultation and recommendations
- Remote monitoring within 6 months
To clarify the cost of correcting childhood autism – contact the international department of the clinic
2) Transplantation of own stem cells from umbilical cord blood
The procedure takes place with daily hospitalization and includes:
- Consultation and examination of a transplantologist
- Blood tests
- Consultation of anesthesiologist
- Thawing cord blood in a water bath at a temperature of 37 degrees
- Umbilical cord blood washing to remove cryoprotective substances, especially dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), as well as the remains of erythrocytes and hemoglobin
- Suspension of stem cells in isotonic solution or special solution for transfusion
- Introduction of hematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cells intrathecally and / or intravenously
- Final consultation and recommendations
- Remote monitoring within 6 months
To clarify the price of autism treatment in children, contact the international department of the clinic
3) Brother or sister cord blood stem cell transplant
The procedure takes place with daily hospitalization and includes:
- Consultation and examination of a transplantologist
- Blood tests
- Consultation of anesthesiologist
- Thawing cord blood in a water bath at a temperature of 37 degrees
- Cord blood washing to remove cryoprotective substances, especially dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), as well as erythrocyte and hemoglobin residues
- Suspension of stem cells in isotonic solution or special solution for transfusion
- Introduction of hematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cells intrathecally and / or intravenously
- Final consultation and recommendations
- Remote monitoring within 6 months
To calculate prices for the correction of autism in a child – contact the international department of the clinic
Possibilities of Developmental Therapy in the Treatment of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders | Vasilenok A., Folkmanis V., Artaeva T., Shena I.
The article is devoted to the possibilities of developmental therapy in the treatment of children with autism spectrum disorders
For citation. Vasilenok A., Folkmanis V., Artaeva T., Shena I. Possibilities of developmental therapy in the treatment of children with autism spectrum disorders // BC. 2016. No 6.P. 376–378.
According to the World Center for Disease Control, over the past 10 years, the incidence of autism spectrum disorders between 2000 and 2010 wasin Europe increased from a ratio of 1: 150 to a ratio of 1:68 . In this regard, the question of the methods of developmental therapy has been actualized. In a prospective study conducted in 2013–2015. with patients of the Children’s Clinical University Hospital of Riga, the effectiveness of a certain type of psychomotor development of a child was established.
Developmental therapy is considered to be a set of measures aimed at strengthening and developing weakened psimotor functions. In the case of autism spectrum disorders, the following are applicable: remedial gymnastics, dance and movement therapy, sand therapy, classes with a special teacher, water procedures, developing classes according to the Montessori method, treatment by communicating with animals, audiotherapy, therapeutic massage, physiotherapy, ergotherapy .
Autism spectrum disorders are a wide range of psychologically determined manifestations of abnormal behavior and difficulties in social interaction and communication, as well as severely limited interests and frequently repeated behavioral acts . In the diagnosis of autism, the decisive role is played by the classic autistic triad, which consists of a weakened ability for social interaction, impaired communication skills, limited interests and repetitive stereotypical behavior.Along with the triad, autism is characterized by compulsive behavior, withdrawal, tendency to monotony, ritual and limited behavior and auto-aggression . Various literature sources also point to generalized learning disabilities, lack of concentration, seizures, eating disorders, and sleep problems. In the non-scientific literature, you can find a lot of information about the mental and physical superpowers of people with autism.
Autism spectrum disorders include childhood autism, atypical autism, Rett syndrome, other types of childhood disintegrative disorder, hyperactive disorder with mental retardation and stereotyping, Asperger’s syndrome, and other general developmental disorders.
Childhood autism – a type of general developmental disorder, which is characterized by: a) anomalies and delays in the development of a child under the age of 3 years; b) psychopathological changes in social interactions, acts of communication and behavior – limited, stereotypical and monotonous. These specific diagnostic features are usually complemented by other, nonspecific problems: phobias, sleep and eating disorders, outbursts of irritation and self-directed aggression.
Atypical autism – a type of general developmental disorder characterized by an older age of patients, the absence of the triad of pathological disorders necessary for the diagnosis of childhood autism.This type of autism occurs only if anomalies and developmental delays have manifested themselves in a child over 3 years old and if violations of one or two of the three components of the psychopathological triad (namely, in social interaction, communication and behavior characterized by limited, stereotyped and monotonous), despite the presence of other characteristic violations. Atypical autism most often develops in individuals with deep developmental delay and in individuals with severe, specific receptive speech disorder.
Rett syndrome is a condition, until now found only in girls, in which apparently normal early development is complicated by partial or complete loss of speech, locomotor skills and hand skills, simultaneously with a slowdown in head growth. Violations occur in the age range from 7 to 24 months. life. This condition is characterized by stereotypical circular movements of the hands instead of directed voluntary movements and increased breathing. Social and playful development stops, but interest in communication tends to be preserved.By the age of 4, the development of trunk ataxia and apraxia begins, often accompanied by choreoathetoid movements.
The next childhood disintegrative disorder is a type of general developmental disorder, which is characterized by the appearance of signs of the disorder after a period of absolutely normal development, when the skills acquired by that time begin to be lost. The loss of skills occurs within months of the onset of the disorder. This is usually accompanied by a pronounced loss of interest in the environment, stereotypical, monotonous motor behavior and disorders in the field of social interactions and communication characteristic of autism.In some cases, a causal relationship of this disorder with encephalopathy can be found, but the diagnosis should be based on the characteristics of the behavior.
Hyperactive disorder associated with mental retardation and stereotyped movements, – poorly defined disorder of uncertain nosology. This category unites children with severe mental retardation (IQ below 50), hyperactivity, impaired attention, stereotyped behavior. In such children, stimulant medications can cause not a positive response (as in individuals with a normal IQ level), but, on the contrary, a severe dysphoric reaction (sometimes with psychomotor retardation).During adolescence, hyperactivity tends to be replaced by decreased activity, which is not typical for hyperactive children with normal intelligence. This syndrome is often associated with various manifestations of developmental delays of a general or specific nature. The degree of etiological involvement of low IQ or organic brain damage in this behavior is unknown.
Asperger’s Syndrome is a disorder of undefined nosology characterized by the same qualitative anomalies of social interactions that are characteristic of autism, combined with limitations, stereotypes, monotony of interests and activities.The difference between this type of disorder and autism is, first of all, in that there is no stop or delay in the development of speech and learning, which is usual for autism. This disorder is often associated with severe clumsiness. There is a tendency towards the preservation of the above changes in adolescence and adulthood. In the early period of maturity, psychotic episodes periodically occur .
In a study conducted in 2013–2015. in Riga, 72 children with autism spectrum disorders aged from 2 to 5 years were taken for comparison.Of these, 38 were diagnosed with childhood autism, 16 with atypical autism, and 18 with other diffuse developmental disorders. For comparison, 6 types of developmental therapy were selected: 48 children attended a special teacher, 24 children studied using the Montessori method, 14 received sand therapy, 12 received water procedures, 12 children received dance-movement therapy, and 9 children received treatment by communicating with animals. The two control groups consisted, respectively, of 28 children without psychomotor development disorders and 10 children with a diagnosis of childhood autism, who did not receive any auxiliary treatment.
The study consisted of 3 parts.
1. Parents filled out a structured questionnaire, drawn up according to the norms of psychomotor development at a certain age, regarding the child’s abilities. The questionnaire was adapted according to the norms of child development and the Denver test of psychomotor development specified in the textbooks on pediatrics [6, 7].
2. Abilities and the degree of development were assessed by the doctors conducting the study, observing the child for a calendar week using a similar questionnaire, drawn up according to the model of the Denver test of psychomotor development.
3. The degree of psychomotor development was assessed by a psychiatrist and a clinical psychologist using the Munich physiological diagnostics scale . To identify changes in the child’s development after a certain type of treatment, all 3 stages of testing were repeated 6 months later. Psychomotor development was assessed according to 5 main blocks: 1) gross motor skills; 2) fine motor skills; 3) visual perception; 4) auditory perception; 5) the development of speech. The blocks of criteria for visual and auditory perception also included understanding, comparison and analysis of what was seen and heard.Speech development included the correct use of words, the ability to name specific things and conduct a conversation.
A study of healthy children showed the following results: 84% of children corresponded to age norms of psychomotric development, 3% of children had speech delay, 2% – impaired fine motor skills and 1% – impaired gross motor skills. 10% of children performed better than their peers. However, in repeated testing six months later, their results deteriorated markedly. In 4 out of 10 children, developmental alignment with age norms was observed, and in 2 children, who previously exceeded age norms, regression was observed.The deterioration manifested itself in the development of speech and fine motor skills. A positive result was also noted: 2 children who had a delay in the development of speech, after 6 months. aligned with age norms. These results show that developmental therapy can also be useful for healthy children, both for general development and for mastering specific skills.
The expediency of developmental therapy was also proved by the study of the 2nd control group. During the initial testing, not a single child diagnosed with childhood autism showed 100% compliance with the age norms of psychomotor development.After 6 months. Re-examination showed that 40% of children without stimulating therapy made minimal progress in development, 40% of children remained at the previous level, and 10% showed regression.
From the above, we can conclude that for any signs of delayed psychomotor development, it is necessary to resort to auxiliary, developmental therapy. The effectiveness of adjuvant therapy is observed to varying degrees, regardless of concomitant diseases. That is, it does not matter whether the child has a diagnosis from the group of mental disorders or not.What type of therapy is more effective for a specific type of developmental delay, we will consider further – this is the main goal of the study.
The most effective for all-round development were classes with a special teacher. Improvement in all five categories of assessment was observed relatively evenly: development of speech – 70%; visual activity – 72%; auditory perception – 69%; development of gross motor skills – 75% and development of fine motor skills – 73%. These results are explained by the fact that classes with a special teacher are versatile.When working with a child, a special educator offers a wide variety of activities. Treatment turns into a game that is interesting for the child.
In turn, Montessori training implies not only development during the game, but also the mastery of everyday skills. A special feature of the Montessori method, which helps the development of thinking, is that the child himself chooses what he will do during the lesson. So that the lesson is not useless for the child, the teacher can limit the choice of actions, suggest actions or give certain tasks.In the course of the Montessori method, there is no imposition of the goal of the lesson. That is, the teacher does not set an obligatory goal for the child: today we must learn such and such an action. The teacher suggests trying something new during the main lesson, and if it does not work out, then the action is repeated in the next lesson. This is the essential difference between the Montessori method and the work of a special teacher.
Given the above, one would expect that Montessori therapy would also be comprehensively developing.But, unfortunately, the results obtained were quite unexpected. Best of all, Montessori training promotes the development of fine motor skills. Improvement was observed in 63% of children: visual perception improved in 58%, auditory – in 53%, gross motor skills – in 49%, the worst indicator was in the speech development group – only 20%.
Motor-dance therapy for 6 months, as expected, showed a convincing improvement in motor function, i.e. gross motor function. Improvement occurred in 70% of children.An improvement in auditory perception was noted in 10%. In the remaining groups of psychomotor development, no significant changes were observed.
Also, the development of motor abilities – large and fine motor skills – was helped by sand therapy. Both types of motor skills improved in most children. Unfortunately, no progress was observed in the development of speech, auditory and visual perception.
Treatment with animal contact has shown very convincing results in the development of speech and hearing. After contact with animals, children with a great desire begin to talk, engage in conversation, listen and understand what they have heard.Auditory perception improved in 88%, and speech development – in 99%!
Water procedures contributed to the development of auditory perception in 56% of children. Unfortunately, it was not possible to find an explanation for this result. Of course, as expected, gross motor development improved in 55% of children.
Summarizing the results obtained, it can be stated that in children who receive only one type of therapy, developmental progress is less pronounced. Thus, the best effect is obtained not by one type, but by a combination of several types of therapy.
How is Asperger’s Syndrome different from autism?
Asperger’s Syndrome is one of the autism spectrum disorders. Its symptoms are milder than those of autism. The exact causes of Asperger’s syndrome are unknown, but it is assumed that, as in the case of autism, they lie in genetic predisposition and the influence of external factors on human prenatal development. Both disorders have changes in the brain, but how exactly they appear and develop is not fully known.Correction of the symptoms of this disorder occurs using the same methods as in the treatment of childhood autism.
The main symptoms of autism spectrum disorders are problems in social interaction with others, unwillingness to make contact, lack of empathy and inadequate perception of generally accepted norms and concepts. However, people with Asperger’s syndrome perform significantly better in society than with autism.Problems with speech and learning in such a person are less pronounced. People with Asperger Syndrome may respond inappropriately to social interactions and often appear to be insensitive. They are able to theoretically understand the emotions of other people and learn to empathize, but they usually find it difficult to put their knowledge into practice.
A child with Asperger Syndrome can excel in activities that require attention to detail, such as math, music, or drawing.
Asperger sufferers often show limited interests in very specific areas, without seeing or understanding the broader context. To a large extent, this is also characteristic of autists. They can also focus mainly on narrow topics. For example, watch only a certain program on TV or play with only one toy. This feature can also have a positive side. A child with Asperger Syndrome can excel in activities that require attention to detail, such as math, music, or drawing.
Myths about autism
Among famous people of the past, musician Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and physicist Albert Einstein are believed to have suffered from autism spectrum disorders. Among our contemporaries, one can distinguish environmentalist Greta Thunberg, who considers her diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome a gift that defines her vision of the world “in very black and white”. Another striking example of a person with this disease is the writer, mathematician and computer scientist Daniel Tammet.He set himself the task of explaining to healthy people how the inner world of a person suffering from autism spectrum disorder works.
In both autism and Asperger’s, treatment is aimed at improving symptoms and functioning in society.
Asperger’s syndrome and autism are usually diagnosed in children aged 1.5-2 years. Sometimes it is immediately clear that the child has some problems in socialization, but in general he communicates with others adequately.However, it is more likely that Asperger’s syndrome can be detected precisely in dynamics, after several years of treatment, having previously diagnosed autism in the child. The diagnosis of autism and Asperger’s syndrome usually occurs after a meeting of a psychiatrist, child psychologist, occupational therapist and speech therapist with the child and his parents.
Autism is treated exclusively through behavioral therapy. In the case of Asperger’s syndrome, starting in older adolescence, the patient is prescribed treatment with cognitive behavioral therapy.In both autism and Asperger’s, treatment is aimed at improving symptoms and functioning in society. Specialists try to teach the child those social skills that are appropriate for his age, and which he has not been able to acquire on his own. Patients with autism spectrum disorders are often prescribed medication to reduce their symptoms. However, in the case of Asperger’s syndrome, the drugs that work are less obvious than in autism.
Symptoms generally decrease with age in children with Asperger Syndrome, although difficulties in social interaction with others may persist. It is the understanding of how the disease develops and how treatment works that helps determine what will happen in the future for a child with autism spectrum disorder, and where his symptoms may develop.
90,000 Treatment of neurological pathologies – ABA-therapy
Ava therapy.What it is?
ABA (Applied behavior analysis) is a therapy, an applied science that determines the relationship between behavior and factors in the environment and experimentally manipulates these factors in order to change behavior. Simply put, ABA is behavioral therapy or behavior modification.
To make an appointment
Indications for ABA therapy
Applied prescription of ABA is, first of all, valuable for the correction of autism.However, the method demonstrates its high efficiency in the treatment of other developmental disabilities:
- Asperger’s Syndrome;
- Disability due to developmental disabilities;
- Traumatic brain injury;
- Attacks of aggression;
- Problematic behavior, disobedience.
How does ABA therapy for autistic people work?
What are the prospects for a child when diagnosed with autism. Treatment, especially at an early stage, undoubtedly brings tangible results, but the child will always remain special.It is more correct to talk not about the treatment of autism, but about its correction. ABA should be part of the overall autism management program along with physiotherapy. The goal of behavioral correction for autism is to bring a child with certain developmental disabilities as close as possible to full participation in society.
ABA therapy for autistic people is based on the idea that any behavior entails certain consequences, and if the child likes them, he will repeat the behavior, and if he does not like it, he will not.Thus, it is possible to stimulate the development of the necessary skills and abilities, including improving communication, increasing the desire to learn, reducing the level of aggression and anxiety, and adapting behavior in general to a socially oriented model.
How does ABA therapy for autism work? For a child diagnosed with autism, treatment should require the doctor to focus on his individual characteristics and moods, maximum attention and patience. Elementary skills of speech, contact, creative play, the ability to listen, look into the eyes are difficult for an autistic person.They need to be broken down into smaller tasks: “raise your hand”, “nod your head”, “give”, “take” …
They start with one task, suggesting the correct reaction and actively encouraging it (goodies, the opportunity to take a walk, praise). New tasks are gradually introduced, alternating. Then they try to set the mastered tasks in an unfamiliar environment, with the involvement of new people …
Over time, the child begins to independently master new stimuli from the environment, just like developing children usually do.
ABA therapy has a wide variety of training programs. A special scale will allow assessing the success of an autistic child in treatment. How much is
The effectiveness of ABA therapy in the correction of autism and other developmental disorders
The earlier the course begins, the higher the effectiveness of ABA therapy in correcting autism. The ideal option is to start working with your child using this method before he reaches 6 years of age.
Behavioral therapy for autistic people is extremely powerful. According to the results of the founder of the ABA methodology, Ivar Lovaas, about 50% of children who studied according to it, after completing the correction of autism, can attend a regular general education school. More than 90% of the children who received ABA improved their condition and behavior.
Behavioral therapy for autists gives the greatest result if you engage in this technique with a child for 29-30 hours a week.Success largely depends on the professionalism of the instructor. He should also give recommendations to parents on how to consolidate the result of learning at home achieved during the course.
Benefits of ABA Therapy
Today, ABA therapy is recognized as the most effective treatment for autism and other developmental disorders. Its success is ensured by the fact that the training takes place on an individual basis. All people are different, all children with autism are different. Each has its own characteristic behaviors and its own characteristic environment.If you focus on a specific behavior, identify the factors that influence and control this behavior, then you can change it more effectively than trying to explain in words, scold or give a pill.
Classes of ABA-therapy at the Research Institute of Neurology and Pediatrics “Indigo Children”
ABA therapy begins at about 1.5-2 years of age with any child who exhibits unwanted behavior.
Classes with elements of ABA therapy with autists should ideally be conducted daily and last 1 hour, with 3-5 minutes of changes.The duration of the ABA therapy course is negotiated with the parents and depends on the child’s abilities and the financial ability of the parents.
In the first lesson, the child’s skills are tested and the parents are interviewed. Speech skills, self-care skills, social skills, motor skills are assessed. Depending on the information received, a personal program for further work is developed. In the course of the lesson, the psychologist works out the skills, and the parents consolidate the experience at home in accordance with the instructions.
Impulss – BOS
What is it?
Biofeedback (BFB) is a technology that includes a complex of research, non-medical, physiological, preventive and therapeutic procedures, during which a person, through an external feedback loop, organized mainly with the help of microprocessor or computer technology, is presented with information about the state and changes certain own physiological processes.
Visual, auditory, tactile and other stimulus signals are used, which allows developing self-regulation skills through training and increasing the lability of regulatory mechanisms.
Biofeedback therapy clearly demonstrates to us how we can use our consciousness to directly control our own body by analyzing the signals of the nervous system.
The method allows in a natural, drug-free way to optimize the normal physiological functions of the body and correct the impaired ones.A prerequisite for biofeedback therapy is the patient’s motivation to achieve a result. Thus, the use of Biofeedback transforms the patient from an object of medical intervention into an active and interested participant in the treatment process.
Duration of one session 20 – 30 minutes. However, to achieve control and consolidate these skills, a sufficiently large number of sessions is required, on average 20-30.
For the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2012, biofeedback therapy was recognized as the most effective method.
In working with children, the biofeedback therapy method is often the most adequate means of assistance, since the long-term effect of therapy is achieved here through learning – just the process that is the main and most natural task for the developing brain.
At this time, in our center, the posturograph Stabilan and the inter-active metronome Ritmo-BOS are used for biofeedback therapy.
Does your child need it?
Classes with an interactive metronome are assigned to children with ADHD, autism spectrum disorders (early childhood autism (EDA), Asperger’s syndrome, autistic conditions), mental retardation, cerebral palsy, speech tempo disorders, children after traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury.
What problem does this solve?
Interactive metronome stimulates brain activity, which is necessary for processing sensory information from the outside.