Managing autism spectrum disorder

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So in this Article we’re gonna talk about how we manage autism spectrum disorder.

And in order for us to figure out how we might go about doing that,

let’s actually pull up the criteria here that we use to diagnose

autism spectrum disorder.

So if we look at this,

the two main sort of signs

that we need to see in someone

in order to diagnose

autism spectrum disorder

are trouble with

communication and interaction

and restrictive, repetitive behaviors.

And we can see here that

there are a few different ways

that these problems could manifest,

so this is what we would look for

if we were trying to figure out

if someone has autism spectrum disorder.

And, since these are the

main sort of problems

that someone with autism spectrum disorder

can experience, well, it’s these

that we also want to focus on when we’re

thinking about managing

autism spectrum disorder.

Now something that we need to keep in mind

when we’re thinking about managing

autism spectrum disorder is that

someone with autism spectrum disorder,

they follow along a spectrum, right?

So how much trouble they

have with communication

and interaction and restricted

and repetitive behaviors,

how much trouble they

have in these domains

really varies a lot

between different people

with autism spectrum disorder.

So that means that we really want

individualized management plans

for different people with

autism spectrum disorder

to make sure that the plans really address

each person’s strengths

and their symptoms,

because this can really

vary depending on where

along the autism spectrum

the person falls.

So you might have picked up on the fact

that I’m using the word manage here,

rather than the word

treat, and that’s because

there isn’t really a

cure for these troubles

that someone with autism

spectrum disorder can experience.

So instead what we want to focus on

is managing these troubles

by trying to minimize

how much they interfere with

the person’s day to day life.

And a big part of how we do that,

especially when a child is younger,

is we get the parents,

and other family members,

and teachers involved in creating

an ideal environment for the kid

with autism spectrum disorder.

And this ideal environment, what it is,

is it’s an environment that addresses

these different troubles that someone

with autism spectrum disorder can have.

So let’s take a look at

what this might look like.

So in order to help a child

with autism spectrum disorder

work on their communication

and interaction skills

parents or teachers might make sure

that the child has lots of

interactive playtime every day.

So the teacher might

make sure that the child

has time to interact

with his or her peers,

maybe by working on classroom

activities together.

These sorts of social activities

are made a priority every day

so that the child has

lots of opportunities

to work on his or her communication

and interaction skills in different ways.

And at home, maybe the parents would

really focus on making communication

and interaction an important priority.

Maybe they would practice

using nonverbal gestures

and making sure that the child is able

to use and understand these skills

when they interact with the

parents or other family members.

Now part of making sure that a kid

with autism spectrum

disorder is able to thrive

and work on their communication

is making sure that they’re

comfortable in their environment.

And since we know that kids

with autism spectrum disorder

can be really set on routines

and have trouble with change

what we often focus on in

managing autism spectrum disorder

is making sure that the child

has a really structured environment.

So this might mean that

parents and teachers

make sure that their routines,

like getting ready for school

and after school activities and bedtimes

and meals are always the same.

Maybe this means that the child

is in a smaller classroom so that they’re

able to get some more one

on one time with the teacher

who can make sure that the day

really follows a nice routine.

And if the child has an activity

that they’re really into,

maybe something like playing with cars,

well this might be implemented

into the daily schedule

to make sure that the child has a routine

that includes the activity

that they really enjoy.

And parents and teachers would also

likely identify any environmental stimuli,

like lights, or sounds, or smells,

that really overstimulate and bother

the child with autism spectrum disorder,

and to make sure that these are avoided.

So all of these measures to

create a structured environment,

this is done so that the child is able

to function their best and be able

to work on their communication

and interaction skills

in an environment that

they’re comfortable in.

Now sometimes managing

autism spectrum disorder

involves a few other measures to help deal

with other disorders and

problems that can occur

in kids with autism spectrum disorder.

So, for example, sometimes kids

with autism spectrum disorder have trouble

with attention and hyperactivity.

This might happen because they

also have another disorder called

attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,

or maybe this inattention

and hyperactivity

occurs because they are

struggling with anxiety,

which is actually another common problem

for kids with autism spectrum disorder.

Kids with autism spectrum

disorder are also

at a higher risk of having

a few other conditions,

like seizures, and sleep

trouble, and depression.

So sometimes medications that help target

and manage these other

symptoms and conditions

can become a part of a management plan

for autism spectrum disorder.