What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a diagnosis for a developmental disability that can range greatly in severity. In the past, ASD was broken down into several different diagnoses including Asperger syndrome and PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified). The common symptoms found throughout the spectrum include difficulties with communication, social interactions, and learning. While some people on the spectrum are non-verbal, may have difficulties with movement, and have great difficulties taking care of themselves, others exhibit very high levels of intelligence is a few narrowly-focused areas and need far less help to live their lives.
How is Autism Spectrum Disorder Treated?
While there is no known cure, or medication that treats ASD, certain early intervention therapies have been shown to improve certain aspects of a child’s development. Some of these treatments can help a child with ASD learn how to interact socially, speak, and even walk. Other therapies can be used as an autistic child ages to help them learn how to understand and interact with the world as they are exposed to more and more of it. One widely-accepted approach to therapy is called Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). In ABA, positive behaviors are taught and then encouraged while negative behaviors are ignored. ABA can be administered over several years and with a variety of methods to help engage an autistic person in the process.
If someone with ASD has specific issues that they or their parents and teachers want to work on improving, there are specialized therapies to do so. Sensory integration therapy is designed to help a person learn to handle different sensory stimuli like sounds, sights, and smells by slowly exposing them to these possible problems in a controlled setting. Speech therapy can be ongoing, and for those who cannot speak there are several options for learning communications skills. One non-verbal therapy is the PECS (picture exchange communication system) system that teaches the patient how to use symbols to not just ask questions, but to hold conversations.
If you or a loved one is taking care of someone with Autism Spectrum Disorder, you know how difficult it can be. ASD can turn parenting, already a full-time job, into a never-ending amount of work to ensure that the ASD patient is able to live the life they deserve. Part of that means applying for the proper disability tax credits. At First Support in Toronto we are here to help you apply for the benefits your family needs. Contact us today for help.