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Autism Treatment – Part 2

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Continuing from an article from last week: Autism Treatment – Part 1

Topics Covered in Autism Treatment – Part 1:

  • Educational Interventions
  • Applied Behaviour Analysis
  • Discrete Trial Training
  • Pivotal Response Training
  • Verbal Behaviour
  • Early Start Denver Model (ESDM)

Floortime (DIR)

Floortime is a specific therapeutic technique based on the Developmental Individual Difference Relationship Model (DIR). The premise of Floortime is that an adult can help a child expand his circles of communication by meeting him at his developmental level and building on his strengths.

In Floortime, the therapist or parent engages the child at a level the child currently enjoys, enters the child’s activities, and follows the child’s lead. 
From a mutually shared engagement, the parent is instructed how to move the child toward more increasingly complex interactions, a process known as “opening and closing circles of communication.”
Floortime does not separate and focus on speech, motor, or cognitive skills but rather addresses these areas through a synthesized emphasis on emotional development. 
The intervention is called Floortime because the parent gets down on the floor with the child to engage him at his level. 
Floortime is considered an alternative to and is sometimes delivered in combination with ABA therapies.

Relationship Development Intervention (RDI)

RDI is a system of behaviour modification through positive reinforcement as a parent-based treatment using dynamic intelligence.

The six objectives of RDI are:
1.Emotional Referencing: The ability to use an emotional feedback system to learn from the subjective experiences of others.

2.Social Coordination: The ability to observe and continually regulate one’s behaviour in order to participate in spontaneous relationships involving collaboration and exchange of emotions.

3.Declarative Language: The ability to use language and non-verbal communication to express curiosity, invite others to interact, share perceptions and feelings and coordinate your actions with others.

4.Flexible Thinking: The ability to rapidly adapt, change strategies and alter plans based upon changing circumstances.

5.Relational Information Processing: The ability to obtain meaning based upon the larger context; Solving problems that have no “right-and wrong” solutions.

6.Foresight and Hindsight: The ability to reflect on past experiences and anticipate potential future scenarios in a productive manner.

The program involves a systematic approach to working on building motivation and teaching skills, focusing on the child’s current developmental level of functioning.
Children begin work in a one-on-one setting with a parent. When they are ready, they are matched with a peer at a similar level of relationship development to form a “dyad.” Gradually, additional children are added to the group, as well as the number of settings in which children practice, in order to help the child form and maintain relationships in different contexts.

Training and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children (TEACCH)

TEACCH is a special education program. TEACCH’s intervention approach is called “Structured Teaching.”

Structured Teaching is based on what TEACCH calls the “Culture of Autism.” The Culture of Autism refers to the relative strengths and difficulties shared by people with autism that are relevant to how they learn. 
In Structured Teaching, an individualized plan is developed for each student. The plan creates a highly structured environment to help the individual map out activities. 
The physical and social environment is organized using visual supports so that the child can more easily predict and understand daily activities and as a result, respond in appropriate ways. Visual supports are also used to make individual tasks understandable.

Social Communication/ Emotional Regulation/ Transactional Support (SCERTS)

The SCERTS model is an educational model for working with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It was designed to help families, educators and therapists work cooperatively together to maximize progress in supporting the child.

The acronym refers to the focus on:
SC – Social Communication – the development of functional communication and emotional expression.
ER – Emotional Regulation – the development of well-regulated emotions and ability to cope with stress.

TS – Transactional Support – the implementation of supports to help families, educators and therapists respond to children’s needs, adapt the environment and provide tools to enhance learning.

Sensory integration

Unusual responses to sensory stimuli are more common and prominent in children with autism. Several therapies have been developed to treat Sensory processing disorder. These treatments include prism lenses, physical exercise, auditory integration training, and sensory stimulation or inhibition techniques such as “deep pressure”—firm touch pressure applied either manually or via an apparatus such as a hug machine or a pressure garment.

Animal-assisted therapy

Animal-assisted therapy, where an animal such as a dog or a horse becomes a basic part of a person’s treatment, is a controversial treatment for some symptoms.

A 2007 meta-analysis found that animal-assisted therapy is associated with a moderate improvement in autism spectrum symptoms.

Picture Exchange Communication System

Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is a learning system that allows children with little or no verbal ability to communicate using pictures.

The PECS program starts by teaching the child how to exchange a picture for an object. Eventually, the individual is shown how to distinguish between pictures and symbols and use them to form sentences.

Although PECS is based on visual tools, verbal reinforcement is a major component, and verbal communication is encouraged. 

Auditory Integration Therapy

Auditory Integration Therapy (AIT), sometimes called Sound Therapy, is sometimes used to treat children with difficulties in auditory processing or sound sensitivity.

Treatment with AIT involves the patient listening to electronically modified music through headphones during multiple sessions.

Social Skills

In recent years, social skills training, in both one-on-one and peer group settings, has become a very common treatment for facing this particular challenge.

Social skills taught during training sessions range from simple skills like eye contact, to more difficult skills like inviting a peer for a play date. 
Studies have shown that this type of intervention program can significantly improve social competence and social skill development. 



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About the School For Autism, Hyderabad

School For Autism is based in Hyderabad and provides therapy to people with autism, irrespective of age. To know more about the school, click here.



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