First, let’s define what we mean by the term. Evidence Based Autism Treatment is based on research and evidence. For example, you might go to your doctor and say I don’t think this medication will work for me, he will run some tests and tell you if your condition is treatable or not. You would act in a certain way because you have been conditioned by society to believe that medications are the only treatments.
This is a problem. Children with autism often show classic symptoms, but we don’t always know how to treat it. Sometimes the classic symptoms are ignored or dismissed as normal behavior. We need to be aware of this in order to give the best possible treatment.
Let’s look at some classic symptoms. The biggest category is depression. Most people believe that depression in children can be treated with counseling, but we know that this is simply not true. There is a much better chance that the evidence based autism treatments we use will actually cure them.
How can we tell which behaviors will improve?
What behaviors do you think are good indicators to look for? You may want to look for repetitive, purposeless, autonomous, withdrawn or anxious behavior. Once you find these behaviors, write down the description and how you felt when it occurred. Try to take a mental snapshot of the situation. This will help you and your therapist to identify what was different about this behavior before it turned into the classic autism behavior.
When you evaluate behavior, you will want to pay close attention to the length of time that the behavior occurred. If it was only seconds ago, you are probably dealing with an uncontrollable panic. Long term problems like this could be a warning sign of a disorder. If the child can’t control his panic for several minutes, this should send up red flags to start looking for another solution.
Also note if other people in the family are acting strangely and are also showing unusual or strange behavior. This could be another indicator of an autistic child. If the other people in the family are talking about unusual things or acting funny when they are around the autistic child, this can be taken as well. Many times these are early warning signs that the treatment plan is the proper one.
A great deal of this evidence is the result of observation
Observation is the key to seeing what a person is doing, or not doing. It helps determine what a treatment plan will consist of. It also can help make a treatment plan more effective because you will know exactly what is happening in the patient’s life. This is the type of evidence that just cannot be ignored, as long as you know how to get it.
Many parents run into the problem just being able to take the observations they have and translate them into a meaningful diagnosis for their child. The issue is that many professionals, both pediatricians and autism counselors, tend to look at behavior patterns without looking at the patient’s whole life. This leads many people to believe that something is wrong with them, when really there could be nothing wrong with them. This is the problem with most Autism treatment plans; there is no way to look at the whole picture to conclude that a particular treatment course is best for the individual.
Expert in Genetics
However, what if you had an autism specialist who looked at your child’s life like an expert in genetics would look at the DNA of a child with autism? What if you had a plan in place for what to do with your child’s life that had the proven results of evidence based autism treatment? Would you be foolish enough to try something that could potentially change your child’s life? Of course you would not! Many parents can follow doctor’s orders and do what their doctor tells them, but in the vast majority of cases, there is no reason to doubt the results if you follow something in the book.
One of the most frustrating things about evidence based autism treatment is that there seems to be a lot of conflicting information. There is the “treatments” that your doctor prescribes (many of which are not actually treatments) and then there are the self-help “remedies” that are all the rage these days. I am not sure why the supposed experts are not more willing to put their cards on the table and say this is the information that has worked for thousands of other parents. There are no miracle cures or anything like that.
I have found from my own research that the best things proven to work (and by the same standards) are the behavioral type treatments such as behavior modification, music therapy, dietary adjustments, social skills training and parenting skills training. The best combination of these three really seem to get the most children the results they want and need. In fact, by the time you are done reading this, you may very well have some great information to share with other parents!