Parents, relatives and other people who take care of an autistic child are often the first ones noticing a late development of the child. They may also note some differences in speech abilities, difficulties in making eye contact and playing with other children or having social interactions.
Diagnosis can be made in different ways, using a variety of measures and screening tools. To establish a diagnosis, a multidisciplinary team of physicians and other specialized professionals will observe behaviors and specific impairments.
Sometimes, autism goes unnoticed or is not diagnosed in children and adults. This is particularly the case when the symptoms are mild or if the person has other disabilities or health problems.
It is now recognized that several genetic and biological factors are involved in the autism spectrum disorder and researchers address the medical and biomedical treatments that are effective and safe. However, these treatments cannot replace early intervention, which is the traditional treatment in the field of autism.
Autism symptoms and severity vary widely. With early detection and accurate diagnosis, people have a much better chance of getting the appropriate educational support and any necessary treatments or interventions.
Four programs are considered as complete programs because they take into account at least three major deficits associated to autism: social skills and interest, all aspects of communication, stereotypes and rituals.
Teacch est un programme qui consiste typiquement en un enseignement structuré en petits groupes où l’accent est mis sur le travail autonome. L’environnement de travail est hautement structuré et adapté aux besoins et capacités de l’enfant.
The Denver Model
This program offers more than 20 hours per week of specific and individual intervention for children less than 5 years. The child is placed in a natural social environment (home, school and daycare) that allows him to have many learning opportunities as well as opportunities to initiate actions and requests in order to develop skills such as imitation, nonverbal communication, emotional and pragmatic one.
This program uses behavioral modification techniques to reduce problem behaviors.
The Greenspan Approach
This approach takes into account the developmental age of the child and focuses on individual differences. The interventions take place in a context where the relationship between the child and the speaker – or its parent – is vital. The goal is to encourage the development of different skills in children. Interventions are quite intensive (hours per day) and take place mainly in semi-structured play sessions, hence the name floortime.
Intensive Behavioural Intervention
The intensive Behavioral Intervention, sometimes known as the Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), is a personal treatment that teaches abilities in all children’s development spheres.
Up-to-date, it is considered as the treatment with the most proven efficiency. One of the goals of this method is to allow the autistic child to recover all its delays in order to be able to incorporate regular environments with peers of his age.
The applied strategies used to teach new skills or to reduce behaviour problems are based on behavioural modification techniques.