Q&A: Best Early Intervention Program For Asperger Syndrome?

CME WebsitesChild Development, Resources, Special Needs Diagnoses

blockquote_bgMy son has Aspergers. We found out 2 months ago. What is the best early intervention program for my son? He is 3-1/2 years old.

Most children with Aspergers benefit from a combination of therapies depending on the severity of their disorder. The National Institutes of Health in the USA recommend the following based on their Asperger Syndrome Fact Sheet: The ideal treatment for Asperger Syndrome (AS) coordinates therapies that address the three core symptoms of the disorder:  poor communication skills, obsessive or repetitive routines, and physical clumsiness.  There is no single best treatment package for all children with AS, but most professionals agree that the earlier the intervention, the better.

An effective treatment program builds on the child’s interests, offers a predictable schedule, teaches tasks as a series of simple steps, actively engages the child’s attention in highly structured activities, and provides regular reinforcement of behavior.  This kind of program generally includes: social skills training, a form of group therapy that teaches children with AS the skills they need to interact more successfully with other children; cognitive behavioral therapy, a type of “talk” therapy that can help the more explosive or anxious children to manage their emotions better and cut back on obsessive interests and repetitive routines; medication, for co-existing conditions such as depression and anxiety; occupational or physical therapy, for children with sensory integration problems or poor motor coordination; specialized speech/language therapy, to help children who have trouble with the pragmatics of speech – the give and take of normal conversation; and parent training and support, to teach parents behavioral techniques to use at home. This is a website link toAspergers resources for therapy in your area.