There is no single best treatment for all individuals with ASD. However, there are various treatment options, principally biomedical and behavioral interventions. Some individuals respond well to one type of treatment while others have a negative response or no response at all to the same treatment. Before deciding on a treatment program, it is important to talk with the individuals’s individuals’ healthcare providers to understand all the risks and benefits.
It is also important to remember that individuals with ASD can get sick or injured just like individuals without ASD. Regular medical and dental exams should be part of a individual’s treatment plan. Often it is hard to tell if a individuals’s an individuals’ behavior is related to the ASD or is caused by a separate health condition. For instance, head banging could be a symptom of the ASD, or it could be a sign that the individual is having headaches. In those cases, a thorough physical exam is needed. Monitoring healthy development means not only paying attention to symptoms related to ASDs, but also to the individual’s physical and mental health, as well (Center for Disease Control & Prevention).
This is particularly important because clinicians who routinely treat individuals with ASD also document the following:
• immune dysregulation, including allergies and food sensitivities
• gastrointestinal dysfunction
• metabolic impairment
• sensory integration deficits
• seizure disorder
Therefore, in addition to the typical social, linguistic, and behavioral symptoms of ASD, it is now widely acknowledged that individuals diagnosed with ASD often suffer from co-morbid medical problems. Some suffer, for example, from seizures. There is also a growing body of sound scientific research which shows that many individuals with ASD suffer from gastrointestinal (GI), sleep, and metabolic disorders. Sadly, because of the communication difficulties typical in ASD, many individuals with ASD who suffer from co-morbid medical conditions are unable to describe their pain and symptoms or to ask for help. It is no surprise, then, that many clinicians and researchers report that when medical care is provided for GI disorders and other ailments, there is a corresponding reduction in behavioral problems; this leads some professionals to hypothesize that at least some of the behavioral problems seen in ASD may, in fact, be the responses to the pain and discomfort the individuals with ASD are experiencing from their medical issues, exacerbated by their frustration in their inability to convey that pain to others. The degree to which behavioral problems issues in ASD may reflect medical issues and physical discomfort is clearly an area that merits clinical and research attention and that speaks to the need for an integrated behavioral and biomedical treatment approach.
To learn more about the various treatments, you can visit the The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.