Treatment Resources

There is no single best treatment for all children with ASDs. However, well-planned, structured teaching of specific skills is very important. Some children respond well to one type of treatment while others have a negative response or no response at all to the same treatment.

Before deciding on a treatment program, it is important to talk with the child’s healthcare providers to understand all the risks and benefits.

Treatment information is provided courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control, National Institute of Mental Health, and Autism Society of America.

There is no single best treatment package for all children with ASD. One point that most professionals agree on is that early intervention is important; another is that most individuals with ASD respond well to highly structured, specialized programs.

Before you make decisions on your child’s treatment, you will want to gather information about the various options available. Learn as much as you can, look at all the options, and make your decision on your child’s treatment based on your child’s needs. You may want to visit public and specialized schools in your area to see the type of program they offer to special needs children. In addition, you may want to seek out the availablility of statewide resource networks, such as The Autism Program of Illinois.

Guidelines used by the Autism Society of America include the following questions parents can ask about potential treatments:

  • Will the treatment result in harm to my child?
  • How will failure of the treatment affect my child and family?
  • Has the treatment been validated scientifically?
  • Are there assessment procedures specified?
  • How will the treatment be integrated into my child’s current program? Do not become so infatuated with a given treatment that functional curriculum, vocational life, and social skills are ignored.

The National Institute of Mental Health suggests a list of questions parents can ask when planning for their child:

  • How successful has the program been for other children?
  • How many children have gone on to placement in a regular school and how have they performed?
  • Do staff members have training and experience in working with children and adolescents with autism?
  • How are activities planned and organized?
  • Are there predictable daily schedules and routines?
  • How much individual attention will my child receive?
  • How is progress measured? Will my child’s behavior be closely observed and recorded?
  • Will my child be given tasks and rewards that are personally motivating?
  • Is the environment designed to minimize distractions?
  • Will the program prepare me to continue the therapy at home?
  • What is the cost, time commitment, and location of the program?

Treatment Resources


The Autism Program of Illinois

CDC – Treatment of ASDs

NIMH – Treatment Overview

ASA – Treatment Options

ASA – Autism through the Lifespan

Autism Speaks – Treatment Resources

AOTA – Understanding Autism Occupational Therapy


Publications/Tip Sheets

TAP – Autism Treatments an Overview

TAP – Top Ten Things to Remember When Working With Children

TAP – Meltdown Tip Sheet

TAP – Four Stages of Crisis Prevention