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Autism Treatments

Selecting an Autism Treatment Program

Parents are often disappointed to learn that there is no single best treatment for all children with autism; possibly not even for a specific child.

Even after a child has been thoroughly tested and formally diagnosed, there is no clear "right" course of action. The diagnostic team may suggest treatment methods and service providers, but ultimately it is up to the parents to consider their child's unique needs, research the various options, and decide.

Above all, parents should consider their own sense of what will work for their child. Keeping in mind that autism takes many forms, parents need to consider whether a specific program has helped children like their own.

Parents may find the below questions helpful as they consider various treatment programs:

  • How successful has the program been for other children?
  • How many children have gone on to placement in a regular school and how have they performed?
  • Do staff members have training and experience in working with children and adolescents with autism?
  • How are activities planned and organized?
  • Are there predictable daily schedules and routines?
  • How much individual attention will my child receive?
  • How is progress measured? Will my child's behavior be closely observed and recorded?
  • Will my child be given tasks and rewards that are personally motivating?
  • Is the environment designed to minimize distractions?
  • Will the program prepare me to continue the therapy at home?
  • What is the cost, time commitment, and location of the program?

For more information about autism, see the links on the next page.