Autism spectrum disorder, usually referred to as ASD, is a neurodevelopmental condition that impacts speech and behavior. This article takes a deep dive into ASD to determine whether the condition is curable. It answers questions like: Can people ‘grow’ out of autism? Does the condition worsen with age? What is the significance of ABA therapy in ASD treatment?
So without further ado, let’s dive in!
Autism in a Nutshell
A complicated developmental condition known as an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by ongoing difficulties with social communication and restricted interests. Autism is considered a disability that lasts a person’s entire life; nevertheless, the degree to which a person with autism is impaired in functioning due to the obstacles they face varies greatly.
In most cases, the symptoms manifest themselves during the early years, specifically between 12 and 24 months. However, a diagnosis might not be made until much later, mainly if the symptoms are vague.
Common Signs of Autism
People who have ASD may have contradictory symptoms. There are some children with ASD who do not want to be squeezed and cannot even accept a handshake. On the other hand, some children crave the sensation of being squeezed so desperately that they bump their bodies into other people. Some common symptoms include:
- Difficulty coping with sudden changes
- Not responding to their name
- Being overly focused on a particular object
- Sensory hypersensitivity
- Stereotypical movements like hand flapping, spinning, rocking
- Constantly arranging things in a very particular manner
Autism is a lifetime diagnosis, and there is currently no cure for the condition.
Is It Possible to Recover from Autism?
According to experts, the answer is no; unfortunately, autism is not something that can be outgrown.
In some instances, where it seems as though the autistic symptoms have gone away, other conditions may have taken their place. However, this does not mean that the youngster developed another disorder in place of autism as they got older. If an individual diagnosed with autism does seem to outgrow their symptoms entirely, it indicates that they were not properly diagnosed.
Because autism is incurable, most specialists take an approach that focuses on managing symptoms or developing skills and support. Behavioral, psychological, and educational therapies are often the preferred route.
Does Autism Worsen with Age?
It’s important to remember that autism does not change with age.
However, while your child’s autism may not worsen as they grow, they may always require the specialized assistance that a parent can only provide. According to studies, children whose parents are actively involved in their treatment from an early age demonstrate improved language and daily life skills when they reach their teenage years.
Helping children learn how to control their symptoms and develop crucial life skills can be significantly aided by receiving an accurate diagnosis and early intervention. Your child may learn coping methods to help control the symptoms that hinder your child’s adulthood, but these strategies may not eliminate the symptoms entirely.
The Latest Research Hoping to Cure Autism
The scientific community is becoming more interested in determining the elements related to autism as it continues to grow at an alarming rate.
The most recent studies on autism include investigations into factors associated with this neurotype, in addition to genetic polymorphisms, abnormalities in the gut biome, and neurological aspects that may contribute to it.
However, discovering and evaluating potential novel treatments for autism can be fairly difficult. Autism does not manifest itself in any obvious physical ways, such as elevated blood pressure or cholesterol levels. Therefore, it becomes challenging to evaluate the level of achievement.
When it comes to specific treatment alternatives, one approach utilized by many therapists, schools, and healthcare providers is applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy.
What is ABA Therapy for Autism?
Applied behavioral analysis therapy is a kind of treatment that emphasizes using positive reinforcement to enhance a patient’s behavioral, social, communication, and educational abilities. In ABA therapy, behavioral concepts are used to define goals, reinforce actions, and evaluate the effectiveness of treatment.
The ideas of behaviorism, in particular operant conditioning and the application of incentives and consequences to shape behavior, are the foundation upon which ABA therapy is built. In the 1950s and 1960s, practitioners in the field of mental health began using concepts such as token economics to treat various mental health disorders, including schizophrenia and developmental disabilities.
Types of ABA therapy include:
- Discrete Trial Training (DTT)
- Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI)
- Early Start Denver Model (ESDM)
- Natural Environment Training
- Comprehensive ABA Therapy
- Focused ABA Therapy
Benefits of ABA Therapy
Autism is not “treated” by ABA therapy, but it can be used to teach desired behaviors and to lessen or eliminate undesirable ones. ABA therapy may also be used to teach social skills.
For example, ABA may be utilized to treat autism to lessen the severity of tantrums, instruct a child to sit quietly or teach them to use words when making requests. By breaking desirable behaviors down into their parts and exposing ABA therapy, specialists are able to teach children which behaviors are suitable for particular circumstances. These children receive a prize after completing each stage of the process.
How to Help Your Autistic Child Thrive?
If your child has just been diagnosed with autism, you are undoubtedly wondering and fretting about the next step. No parent would ever be ready to hear that their child is anything other than normal and healthy, and an ASD diagnosis can be incredibly unsettling.
The following are some things that you can do to assist, support, and encourage the development of your child with ASD.
- Signing up for ABA therapy – Through therapy, your child will gain the skills necessary to lead more independent lives and participate in the communities in which they reside.
- Ensuring your child’s safety – Children with autism frequently face concerns over their safety. Your child’s sense of safety and security will be supported, and the risk of the child hurting themselves or others will be reduced if you provide them with a designated safe spot to go to whenever they feel overwhelmed.
- Connecting in non-verbal ways – You will be able to engage your child in a helpful manner if you learn functional communication skills and put them into practice. Finding a means to communicate with your child will strengthen your relationships.
- Finding help and support – You can obtain information, treatment choices, services, and a feeling of community by assisting various specialists, organizations, and groups. You will be able to control your feelings of stress better and find a way to enjoy the unique bond you share with your child if you and your child have access to better assistance.
The Bottom Line
Although there’s no known cure for ASD, several treatment methods, such as ABA therapy, can assist persons with ASD in navigating daily circumstances and developing abilities. Find a group of caring and experienced specialists who can help you and your child on this path in order to make the most of it.