Autism also known as ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) is a neurological disorder which is classified by impaired social correspondence along with repetitive and restricted interests and behaviors. ASD features are visible in infancy and can persist through the entire lifespan. Some of the early social communication impairments consist of poor eye contact, decreasing social smile, decreasing facial expressions and problem related to integration of nonverbal and verbal communication (Chop.edu 2019).
Treatment of ASD consists of multidisciplinary approach which integrates EIBI (Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention), psychopharmacology, special education, speech therapy, physical therapy, vocational therapy and social skills training. The specific aims of treatment vary according to the functional abilities and cognitive level of individuals affected by ASD (Chop.edu 2019). The interventions should be targeted to develop relationship, living standards and making the suffering person more independent.
Obesity is a common feature of people affected with ASD which impacts their health and living standards, people with ASD are often limited intake of certain foods which leads to nutritional excess or deficiencies; hence calcium intake is prescribed in certain cases. There are no medicines to treat the core symptoms of ASD; the pharmacological interventions are aimed to decrease associated symptoms like inattention, hyperactivity, anxiety, compulsions, sleep disturbance and irritability. Antidepressants are administered to control repetitive behaviors, irritability and compulsions (Politte et al., 2015). As regards symptoms related to ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) which includes impulsive and inattentive behavior along with hyperactivity; methylphenidate (MPH) and MAS (Mixed amphetamine salt) are given though these may show some side effects. Alpha- 2 agonists are also given to treat symptoms of ADHD; these are better tolerated related to other stimulants administered in ASD. Atypical antipsychotics are administered to treat extreme irritability (this even includes severe tantrums, self injury, aggression and mood liability) caused in ASD.
The treatments help in minimizing the severity of core problems along with the associated symptoms of autism and heighten living standards and functional independence. ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) applies the principles related to behavioral psychology to change behavior of people suffering from ASD systematically by discouraging negative behaviors and inspiring positive ones. Speech therapy is an essential aspect in treating autism; the speech language therapist help in developing the communication skills of children suffering from autism and enables them to express their wants and needs clearly. When SLP’s integrates with teachers, families and support personnel the effectiveness of the therapy increases manifold. Occupational therapy (OT) helps in tackling issues related to sensory integration occurring in ASD (Politte et al., 2015). This therapy helps to improve abilities needed for accomplishing daily activities and heightening living standards; when applied on younger children this therapy stresses on developing sensorimotor issues. In older people however, it emphasizes on improving independence and social behaviors. Physical therapy (PT) helps in developing skills related to sensory organs; especially those skills which involve feeling and becoming aware of oneself. Both OT and PT are similar as they help in improving the person’s ability to involve himself in his day to day activities. PT helps in improving skills like sitting, walking, coordination and maintaining balance. Thus early behavioral and pharmacological interventions can help alleviate behavioral and emotional symptoms associated with ASD.