Fact sheet on early intervention therapies for Asperger syndrome


Aspergers syndrome is a developmental disorder. If a child experiences a developmental delay, this can compound over time. The principle of early intervention is to provide appropriate therapies for a child with Aspergers to minimize these delays and maximize their chances of reaching normal milestones.


Early intervention coordinates therapies that address the core symptoms of Aspergers syndrome: poor communication skills, obsessive or repetitive routines, and physical clumsiness. Asperger's syndrome and high-functioning autism may be considered together for the purpose of clinical management.


Typical interventions for Asperger's

A typical Aspergers syndrome intervention program generally includes:
• social skills training for more successful interaction with others
• cognitive behavioral therapy for managing emotions, obsessions and repetitive routines
• medication, for co-existing conditions such as depression and anxiety
• occupational/physical therapy for sensory integration and motor coordination problems
• specialized speech therapy, to learn the “give and take” in normal conversation
• parent training and support, to teach parents behavioral techniques to use at home.


Many studies have been done on early behavioral interventions. Most of these are single case with one to five participants. The single case studies are usually about controlling non-core autistic problem-behaviors like self-injury, aggression, noncompliance, repetitive behaviors, or spontaneous language. Packaged interventions are designed to treat the entire syndrome and have been found to be somewhat effective.

Unintended side effects of medication and interventions for Asperger's syndrome have largely been ignored in the literature about intervention programs for children or adults, and there are claims that some interventions are not ethical and do more harm than good. As with all types of intervention for Asperger's, it pays to research first then monitor the results to see if medication is helping or not. For more information, go to the Early intervention page.


Selecting therapies for Aspergers syndrome

The therapy should be designed for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. If it focuses specifically on Aspergers syndrome, so much the better. The therapists should also take time to observe and assess your child, then discuss the theory behind the therapy, how it is works, and its suitability in your child's case.


An experienced therapist will acknowledge and respect your role as a parent. You know your child best and your involvement should be emphasized. The therapy should also provide parents with strategies to implement in the home environment. Ideally a therapy should give you practical approaches to use in general life situations.


Therapies for Autism Spectrum Disorders are continually developing, and can present a bewildering array of approaches, costs, benefits and waiting lists to parents who may still be reeling from the impact of their child being diagnosed. Although parents may feel a sense of urgency to find therapies quickly, in the long term it is advisable to put time, research and discussion into your choice. For more information, go to the Early intervention page.


When interventions are too expensive

Do some research through books, the Internet and autism associations on the therapy, to see when it was developed, how widely it is used and its evaluation from autism specialists. Unfortunately, therapies are often very expensive, bur remember the most expensive ones may not be the best one for your child anyway. Your local autism association should be able to inform you on subsidies, government treatments and other options available. While therapy by specialists can make a huge difference, it is the ongoing therapy provided by parents in the home which will make the most impact.


For more information, go to the Guide to low cost intervention program page.


Close Aspergers fact sheet here

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This autism fact sheet is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation. It is derivative of autism and Aspergers--related articles at http://en.wikipedia.org

Although causes of Asperger's syndrome still aren't precisely known, there are effective early interventions that can help minimize a child's developmental delays