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Allied Health and Other Treatments for Autism

Posted by Brian Spence on Oct 20, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Autism, Occupational Therapy, Allied Health, Speech TherapyAccording to information on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website, 1 in 68 children in the United States identifies as having some form of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This is right in line with the average in Asia, Europe, and other North American nations, where roughly 1 to 2 percent of individuals have ASD. These numbers appear to be increasing in recent years. Whether you are a parent of a child with autism or you work with children with autism, it is important to understand some treatment options within the Allied Health field.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy for those with autism may include activities such as helping the person learn to dress and feed themselves as well as helping the person develop appropriate socialization skills. The occupational therapist may work with the person on other skills that will help the person to be as independent as possible.

Speech Therapy

Those with autism often deal with an assortment of speech and language problems. Speech therapy can help children with autism beyond just helping the child learn how to say words. A speech therapist may help the child understand verbal and nonverbal cues, understand the meaning of words, and help with other communication issues the person may face.

Oxytocin Nasal Spray

In a recently published study, 34 children between 6 and 12 years old who had autism were given a nasal spray that included either oxytocin or a placebo. The children were given the spray for four weeks. While the spray did not help with every aspect of autism treatment, it did seem to help those with the lowest initial oxytocin levels improve their social skills.

More research will need to be done to determine the effectiveness of long-term oxytocin treatment. Early research, though, shows that it may only be helpful to those with ASD whose initial oxytocin levels are low.

Of course, these are just a few of the ways autism is treated. The best treatment method for one child may not work well for another child with ASD. If you would like to learn more about this and related topics, visit the Healthcare and Behavioral Health sections of our blog.


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