Children suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome have a hard time socializing and communicating effectively with others and an obsessive interest in only certain subjects. Although the syndrome cannot be cured, Asperger’s treatment plans focus on behavior management and social skills training. The earlier on that you can start treatment, the better the results will be. Your doctor should be able to help you pick out some local resources that may work for your loved one. Here are a few treatment strategies:
Training in communication and social skills: Children with Asperger’s Syndrome have not yet learned the “unwritten rules” of socialization that the rest of us pick up without being taught. Teaching these rules in a detailed course may help with this. Children with Asperger’s syndrome may also be taught how to speak in a more natural rhythm. Again, this is something that comes naturally to most of us. This training also shows children with AS how to interpret non-specific communication like certain gestures, eye contact, tone of voice and sense of humor.
Your child’s Asperger’s treatment might also include cognitive behavior therapy which is meant to curb problem behaviors such as interrupting, obsessions, meltdowns or angry outbursts. This treatment also aims to develop some of your child’s skills like recognizing and coping with feelings and anxiety. The main focus of Cognitive behavior therapy is to train your child on how to recognize a troublesome (for them) situation — such as a new place or a social event — and then how to pick out a specific strategy that they’ve learned in order help deal with the situation.
Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, there are no medications to treat your child’s Asperger’s syndrome. But other medications may be used to improve specific symptoms that negatively affect his or her progress — such as anxiety, depression or hyperactivity. These are all common in children with Asperger’s syndrome.
Treatment plans should focus on each individual’s abilities and strengths while, at the same time, addressing social, behavioral and sensory problems. The strategies should be direct and concrete and introduced systematically, one at a time, to avoid confusion and frustration. Make sure the therapy focuses on the strengh’s of your child and not on his/her weaknesses and offers immediate rewards when your child has done what the desired action is.
The environment is also an extremely important factor to consider. Make sure your child receives individualized training in a clutter-free setting with visual aids to help out. You also want him or her to adhere to a highly-structured routine – any deviation from this can take away from the effectiveness of the therapy.
A general guideline is to begin treatment sessions in a controlled setting which can then gradually transition into more generalized settings as your child progresses. The right setting can make a world of difference in the effectiveness of your child’s therapy. Catering each approach to the strengths and needs of the individual is crucial in the development of a comprehensive plan for Asperger’s treatment.