Alternative Autism Treatment Is Already Mainstream

Autism is a diagnosis that parents fear. It is believed to affect 1 out of every 110 children in the United States. This is a number that seems to be growing. With no cure, parents often turn to an alternative autism treatment in the hopes that it will fix the problem.

Alternative autism treatments tend to focus on diet or homeopathic remedies. Each child is different, and there are possibilities of improvement. Reading and studying the facts is important. The important thing is that no harm is done in using these methods. Parents should not assume that any one vitamin or diet is the cure for their child’s ailment. The biggest danger is wasting money or losing valuable time. Time and patience are the keys to treating autism. Money is often an obstacle.

The best alternative to medication is already mainstream: behavioral therapy. This is an intensive therapy, and it is expensive. Insurance companies do not want to pay for it. That’s why it earns the right to be called ‘alternative’. It is also the closest thing to a cure for many autistic behaviors. If a child starts as young as possible, he or she will learn to re-direct his or her brain toward ‘normal’ interactions.

When an autistic child reaches school, misbehavior or perceived misbehavior may lead to a medication. This may be called a last resort, but truthfully its perceived as a quick fix. It isn’t. If autistic children responded to pharmaceuticals, the problem would be solved. Drugs are often prescribed by physicians who want to help distraught parents. Parents, teachers and doctors are willing to gamble that the medication will work. Since communication ability is low, the child cannot always express the side effects he or she feels. Furthermore, children may react atypically because their psychological makeup is so different from a non-autistic child who uses the exact same medication for attention deficit disorder or depression.

Again, the best alternative to pharmaceuticals is behavioral therapy. Behavioral therapy cannot and does not claim to be a cure. Long term studies are needed to determine if autism can actually be cured.

Behavioral therapy is more expensive than medications but it also is far more effective at helping autistic children. This is especially true if the care starts early. Diagnosis is best done at the earliest possible age; however, too many children go undiagnosed until they start school.

The question is ‘what will the therapy accomplish?’ Since each child is different, accomplishments may differ too. Behavioral therapists seek to teach the child to talk, to share, to sustain a conversation, and to redirect attention to the task at hand. Many times autistic children are overly focused on objects and cannot redirect their attention to even important things such as eating. They also have unusual mannerisms which may need to be controlled. If anti-social behaviors are corrected, the child is more likely to function in school, make friends and be happy.

Many parents recommend supplementing behavioral therapy with art therapy, music therapy and even animal therapy. Music can teach language and cooperation. Art can help with focus. Animals can help with empathy.

Truly, alternative autism treatments must be regarded with caution. If it claims to cure, it is probably a hoax. Valuable time and money is better spent on behavioral therapy.

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