Submitted by: Lauren Green, BCBA
Receiving a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is imaginably difficult. As a parent, answers are what we seek. What additional supports are there for my child and how do I go about knowing what sources of information to trust?
I have social media and I see articles, blogs, and posts from friends that show so many things that help their children with Autism. I have seen essential oils, diets, weighted vests and blankets, therapies that I have never heard of, but claim to cure Autism. I am desperate to see changes and to help my child. How do I determine if these things will really help?
If you have ever felt this way, please know you are not alone. Thankfully, there are some really great resources for parents of person’s with Autism Spectrum Disorder. These resources will help you determine what research has been conducted for the treatments you read about online as well as what treatments are proven to be effective in reducing the symptoms associated with ASD.
One resource that is particularly helpful in aiding parents in determining effectiveness of treatment is the National Standards Report by the National Autism Center. The report takes a look at all treatments that have had any research completed and categorizes the treatments into the following areas: Established Treatments (there is substantial research producing positive outcomes for the treatments listed), Emerging Treatments (there is some research showing positive outcomes, but more research is needed before determining if the treatments are effective treatments), Unestablished Treatments (there is little to no research done on these treatments to draw conclusions on their effectiveness or ineffectiveness), and Ineffective/Harmful Treatments (there are several well-controlled studies that show there is no positive effect from the treatment or the treatment produces harmful outcomes). Below is a link to the National Standards Report:
Another resource for parents and families is the Association for Science in Autism Treatment (ASAT). Their website is user friendly and allows parents to access information regarding effective treatments for their children. The website features a section regarding treatments, but also a section dedicated to parents who are navigating life with a child with ASD. Please visit the ASAT online at the link below:
As you seek out help for your child, remember that you aren’t alone in your questions. You aren’t alone in your desires to see your child progress. You aren’t alone in wondering where to begin searching for answers. As you search, we hope you consider the use of resources listed above as guidance for choosing effective treatments.