1. Autism Treatment in Utah
Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism Spectrum Disorder, often referred to simply as Autism, is a developmental disorder that is complex
in nature. It is deemed a spectrum disorder because it can affect different people in different ways and
show up in wide range of characteristics that can be anywhere from mild to moderate in nature. Autism
Spectrum Disorder is known to show up typically in the early years of childhood and the symptoms
almost always carry through to adulthood.
Autism Spectrum Disorder mainly affects an individual’s social interactions early on, often showing up as
an inability to communicate effectively with others. However, there are a range of symptoms and
behaviors associated with this disorder including:
Lack of eye contact or steady gaze
Lacking or underdeveloped motor skills
Intense and specific focus on particular interests
Poor conversation skills
Overly-sensitive to physical contact
Early diagnosis is the key to treating children with autism, which means that parents should be alert to
certain red flags that could indicate the presence of Autism Spectrum Disorder as early as the stages of
infancy. A few signs to be aware of include:
An inability to say single, comprehendible words by the age of 16 months
No babbling or cooing by the one-year age marker
Lack of using hand gestures, such as waving bye-bye or pointing, by one-year old
Will not say or use simple two-word phrases by the age of two years
A Closer Look at Autism Diagnosis
Being concerned that a child has autism usually brings a natural reaction from parents to look for help and
advice from a lot of different professionals. Doctors, psychologists, experts in the field, educators, and
even caretakers often have a hand in the indirect diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. While all of
these observations are important, Autism Spectrum Disorder usually relies heavily on the comprehensive
assessment of the child’s behavior based on reports from several different situations and not one singled-
out example will suffice to achieve an appropriate diagnosis. This is because there are other
processing issues and disabilities that can first appear to be Autism Spectrum Disorder, when they
are actually something else entirely. The act of diagnosing a patient with something similar to Autism
Spectrum Disorder is known as differential diagnosis.
A medical diagnosis is the most efficient way to diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorder . This is
accomplished with a medical professional who takes various steps to determine the likelihood of the
presence of Autism Spectrum Disorder. An assessment will be done of the varying degrees of behavioral
symptoms that a child portrays in different areas of their life. But, diagnostic testing will also be performed.
2. The professional will use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual to guide them in making a specific
diagnosis according to specific symptoms listed and the spectrum to which they are present.
Autism Treatment Methods
There is no known cure for autism and no single factor that is known to cause the disorder. However,
there are many different approaches to treatment, both in the home setting and in medical or even
educational institutions. These approaches may be able to address some of the prevailing challenges that
come along with parenting and raising a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Intervention can involve
treatments on a behavioral level and medications, either alone or in conjunction. Intervention may also
involve treating other medical conditions that can be associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder, such as
sleep disorders, seizures, and gastrointestinal distress. By tending to the other medical issues, it may be
possible to improve present behavior and attention. Intervention can also be effective to help with
Because every patient with autism can have a completely different set of symptoms, there is never a
single approach that will be effective for each patient that could be classified at varying degrees of the
spectrum. Treatment plans are built on an individual basis, designed to cater to the needs, interests,
and weaknesses of the patient. Every parent of a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder must know that
their personal involvement in treatment is crucial to the success of any treatment path chosen. Following
through with therapy sessions at home and working directly with professionals is vital.
Autism Treatment Options
Art & Music therapy – Art and music therapy is based on the premise that interacting creatively with art
and sound can help encourage the development of problem solving skills and decrease issues with
irritability. This therapy can also help individuals learn self-expression, which is a key lacking component
with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Animal therapy – Animal therapy involves bringing animals in to relate to a patient with autism. This could
be in the form of a family pet, but could also be a form of treatment offered at an autism treatment center.
The idea is that animals can bring a sense of joy and encourage physical activity and verbal
Pivotal Response Therapy (PRT) – This treatment focuses on pivotal aspects of Autism Spectrum
Disorder instead of targeting individual characteristics. Motivation of self-response, social interaction, and
response to multiple cues are examples of aspects that are addressed with PRT.
Verbal Behavioral Therapy – Through verbal behavior therapy, patients are taught words as used for
simple commands, instead of as a means of communication or their specific meanings. This is done
through positive reinforcement of encouraging a patient by using a reward system in which a simple
command produces a desirable reaction.
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) – ABA focuses on the fundamental principles that prove how learning
takes place in the mind of someone with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Through changing environmental
factors and social surroundings, ABA works to train an Autism Spectrum Disorder patient to change
specific behavioral responses.
The Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) – ESDM is an early intervention treatment model that is designed
to work with children as young as 12-months old. This is a comprehensive program of curriculum and
learning material that can be used at various points in a child’s development to encourage learning.
3. Medication Management – There are not any known medications that can completely eliminate the
symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder or even help alleviate the primary symptoms of the disorder.
However, there may be medications that can help with specific symptoms. But there are medications that
can help some patients with related symptoms, such as irritability or social difficulties. Most of the known
medications available are referred to as “off-label”, as they are actually designed to treat other conditions,
such as depression and anxiety.
Sensory Integration Therapy – This is actually a primary form of treatment for patients with Sensory
Integration Disorder, but works well for some patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder. During this therapy,
a physical therapist will work with a patient to perform various motor skill and sensory exercises.
Pathways is an Autism Treatment Center for Kids, Teens, and Adults in Utah
The key to helping a child with autism be as functional as possible is to be attentive with intensive
behavioral therapy early on in the diagnosis. This often includes a staff of trained professionals working
closely with everyone in the child’s family. Therapists may come to the child’s home to work with the family
and the child and deliver valuable services and advice. Parent training under the direct supervision of a
licensed therapist is also a key component in autism treatment and involves teaching the parents how to
accomplish therapy sessions on their own.
If you would like more information about the Autism Spectrum Disorder and treatment, contact us at the
Pathways Autism Treatment Center for Kids, Teens, and Adults in Utah.