best therapy for autism spectrum disorder can help children and adults improve their social skills, communication, and independence. These therapies can be provided through a school, private insurance, or a statewide early childhood intervention program.
Occupational therapy (OT) helps people with autism develop the skills they need to perform everyday tasks like eating, writing, and grooming themselves. OT can also teach children how to use assistive devices, such as speech-to-text apps or dry-erase boards.
This type of treatment is usually offered by a licensed occupational therapist or speech-language pathologist. It is usually used in conjunction with other treatment types.
Play therapy is a type of therapy that involves getting down on the floor with a child and engaging them in play. The therapist uses a variety of toys, from simple puzzles to more complex games. The goal is to engage the child in a way that will stimulate them to participate in a social setting.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is another type of talk therapy that can be used with children and adults. It helps people with autism learn to identify the thoughts and feelings that trigger negative behaviors. CBT can also help people with autism manage their anxiety and better recognize emotions in others.
Sensory integration therapy is another behavioral treatment that helps people with autism process sensory input in an easier way. This therapy focuses on calming and improving the response to stimuli like loud noises, bright lights, or touches that may be overwhelming to the person with autism.
The therapy usually combines a variety of techniques, including sensory activities, exercise, and massage. It may involve a series of sessions where the person with autism is exposed to different stimuli in various ways.
Applied behavior analysis is one of the most widely used therapy types for autism, and many schools and districts offer this type of therapy as part of their disability programs. It involves using rewards to encourage positive behaviors, and a trained therapist can determine which type of ABA is right for your child.
Pivotal response treatment (PRT) is another type of behavioral therapy that teaches children to ask for something they want by showing that they’ve tried. This method is especially useful for kids who have trouble following rules or social cues, and it can be used with other therapies as well.
Relationship development intervention is another popular type of therapy that focuses on a relationship between the therapist and the client. This therapy encourages a therapist to follow the interests and abilities of the client, which can lead to more open conversations.
Social skills training is another therapy that can help someone with autism develop their social skills. It teaches basic skills like how to carry on a conversation, understand humor, and read emotional cues.
Arts therapies are also popular and some are free or low-cost. These can include visual arts, music, and acting. These can be very helpful to people with autism because they expand their boundaries, allow them to be creative, and build social skills.