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Exploring Autism Treatments: Behavioural to Nutritional

Author: Warren Gouin

Last Updated

30 May 2023
Autism Treatments

Autism is like a puzzle with no clear treatment that suits everyone. Each child is different, and what works for one may not work for another. But, with the right treatments and therapies, parents can help their children succeed.

I am a parent of an autistic child. I know how hard it can be to find the right treatments and therapies. What works for one child may not work for another, and it can be hard to know where to start.

In this article, I will talk about the different types of treatments and therapies for autism. I will also give you some tips to find the best ones for you.

If you're wondering what you can do at home explore the post -  Autism therapy at home.


The Signs And Symptoms Of Autism Help Determine Treatments.

As a parent, understanding the signs and symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is key. It helps you determine the best way to treat it. Knowing what to look for can help you. It can help you and your child's healthcare team make a plan tailored to their needs.

Understanding ASD better helps us to recognise triggers. Triggers can cause stress, anxiety, or other issues for our children. With this knowledge, we can then develop methods of support and prevention. These may include lifestyle changes, natural therapies, or diet changes.

It's not easy being a caregiver - particularly when it comes to caring for someone on the autism spectrum. But by spotting key signs of ASD, we can better give our children the knowledge and resources they need. These things will help them lead happy lives.

You may find it helpful to take a deep dive into the signs and symptoms of autism using this post - Symptoms of Autism.  This may help you better explore treatments.

As parents, it can be difficult to understand what signs and symptoms of autism to look for. That's why we need to stay in close communication with our child's healthcare team. They are there to provide expertise and find any issues. This way, your child gets the attention they deserve. Experience brings knowledge. They may diagnose some medical conditions and make a treatment plan.

It's critical that we take all signs and symptoms seriously and act on them. These include the ones that we feel are important. But, the healthcare team may miss or not think they are important.  We need to use our own observation skills as well, rather than just relying on our healthcare team.  We are with our children every day, and often notice important things that experts miss. 

 It can be easy to ignore subtle signs of autism, such as toe walking and noise sensitivities. But this is important. Consider them when making treatment plans. We should consider adding therapies for noise sensitivities or for persistent toe walking. We may need them, even if our healthcare team doesn't suggest them.  

Our healthcare team can miss other symptoms. These include constipation and diarrhoea. Autism sufferers may experience these symptoms more than others. Yet, they are often ignored. They told us that gut health wasn't relevant to our son's condition. However, we proved them wrong. Improving his diet was one of the first treatments we added, and it made an incredible impact. It inspired us to further customise his dietary needs, which led to more improvements.

Once signs of autism are identified, the next step is to explore treatment options.


Types Of Treatments For ASD

There are a number of different approaches that can help. Each person's treatment plan should fit their needs. They are unique. Let's take a look at some of the different types of treatments for ASD.

First, there are behavioural treatments such as Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA). This type of treatment focuses on changing behaviours through positive reinforcement. It can help people improve their language skills, daily activities, and social behaviours. It can also reduce unusual behaviours.

Social skills training is another treatment type. It can help individuals with ASD. This therapy focuses on teaching social skills. For example, it covers making friends, starting conversations, and group interaction.

Occupational therapy is also commonly used for individuals with ASD. This therapy can improve coordination and motor skills. It can also help with sensory processing and daily living skills.

There are also many alternative therapies for autism. They can help people with autism. Examples include music and art therapy. They can improve communication and social skills. They can also reduce anxiety and depression.

Dietary improvements and integrative medicine strategies are becoming very popular for treating autism. These approaches focus on improving health and wellness. They also reduce autism symptoms. 

Integrating primitive reflexes is another treatment type. It can help people with autism. This approach focuses on re-integrating reflexes. They are absent or inhibited due to neurological issues.

You can see that there are many treatment options for individuals with ASD. You should work with health care providers. They will help you find your best approach. With the right treatment plan, you can help your loved one manage the signs and symptoms of autism. They can then live a more fulfilling life.

Let's now take a look at some of the different approaches that can help manage the symptoms of autism.


Behavioural Approaches To Manage Symptoms Of Autism

Behavioural approaches can be incredibly effective for treating autism. They can improve communication. They can also reduce symptoms. Behavioural approaches can help a child's development. Remember, these treatments are tailored to each person. They can take many forms.

Behavioural approaches can be a series of steps. They help to create positive behaviour. For example, a child may learn how to respond to social interactions. They do this by first practising the desired behaviour in a safe place. This could involve using visual aids. They help them see and get social cues.

These treatments can also involve teaching a child how to control their emotions. They also teach how to cope with stress. They can reduce tough behaviours, like repeating movements and self-injury. They can also build a child's confidence and self-esteem.

Applied Behavoural Analysis can help with other delays and conditions linked to autism. This could include setting up an individualised education plan. Or, it could be helping to improve a child's communication.

Behavioural treatments can help by meeting a child's needs. They can maximise the child's potential. They help them live an independent and fulfilling life. The personalised approaches include ongoing support. They can greatly help children on the autism spectrum.


Social Skills Training

Another way to help children with autism is through social skills training. This approach focuses on improving daily functioning. It helps people with autism develop the skills to interact with others. You can also use it with other treatments. For example, psychological therapies.

Healthcare providers, such as psychologists and social workers, can provide social skills training. They, along with other mental health professionals, can provide it. It can also be added to educational programs. These programs are for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Here are a few aspects of social skills training:

  • It can involve role-playing. This helps people with autism learn how to behave in different situations.

  • It can involve teaching strategies to help with communication, social interactions, and problem-solving.

  • It can involve teaching basic life skills. These include grooming, hygiene, and self-care.

Social skills training is a vital part of an autism treatment plan. It helps people with autism interact better and improve communication. Healthcare providers can use this approach. It helps their patients gain the skills they need to succeed in life.

With the right help, people with autism can learn the skills they need. They can lead happy lives. Next, we will explore psychological therapies. They can further help people on the autism spectrum.


Psychological Therapies.

Psychological therapies play an important role in autism. Not only for the children and adults with autism, but parents too! I don't have to tell you how difficult it can be parenting a child on the spectrum. Having support for yourself is important as well.

This treatment helps people with autism understand their emotions. It also teaches them to build relationships with others. Therapists can help people with autism learn to manage stress. They can also learn to control their moods and understand others' feelings.

Psychological therapies usually involve teaching people to better recognise and understand nonverbal communication. This includes facial expressions, body language, and other cues used in socialising. They may also focus on helping manage mental disorders. These include depression, anxiety, and OCD.

Psychological therapies are just one of many treatment options available for autism. To explore a wider range of treatments, let's now look at complementary and alternative treatments.


Occupational Therapy.

Occupational therapy can be effective. It focuses on helping people with disabilities do daily activities as independently as they can. It also builds core strength. This leads to more success in everyday tasks. These tasks include self-care, schoolwork and fun.

Occupational therapists are experts in evaluating movement skills. They also evaluate behaviour management strategies and overall function in all areas of life. They typically use sensory integration techniques. These help students become more aware of how their bodies move and respond to outside stimuli. This awareness helps the child learn to regulate themselves. Then, they can join in activities more confidently.

Occupational therapy can provide tremendous benefits. It gives children needed structure. It teaches them key skills. These skills are crucial for success in society. With the right tailored plan, occupational therapists can create change. It supports long-term growth and development.

I recommend finding an occupational therapist that is qualified in the field of primitive reflexes. This helps the therapist integrate the child's nervous system, strength, and movement.

Now we move to a therapy that often goes together with occupational therapy, which is speech pathology. Sometimes, occupational therapy and speech pathology overlap. Choose the mix wisely.  This ensures a nice balance between the therapies.


Speech Pathology.

Speech pathology can also help children with autism. It can help them develop communication and better connect with others through play. Through play-based therapy, children learn how to interact with others in a meaningful way. They learn how to take turns, share and cooperate, as well as how to express their feelings and needs. Speech pathologists can also teach appropriate behaviours. They cover different situations, like how to respond when someone is angry or sad. This helps children understand others' emotions. It teaches them how to react as expected in many situations.

Also, speech pathologists can help children with autism develop problem-solving skills. They do this by teaching them strategies for dealing with tough situations. They can also support families. They offer advice on how to talk to their child and manage tough behaviours. The right intervention plan fits the person's needs. Speech pathologists can use it to make meaningful change. The change supports long-term growth and development.

A skilled speech pathologist can progress to help your child with speech sounds. But, first they need some basic skills in communication and connecting with people. 


Complementary And Alternative Treatments.

I'm a parent too. I can empathise with the desire to explore all options for our children on the autism spectrum. And the struggle to find treatments that make a real change. Too often, we are limited in what therapies we consider. This is due to preconceived assumptions and advice from medical professionals.  With that in mind, limiting therapies that we consider to use for our child is not wise.

We often look to our team of experts to suggest therapies. These experts are experts in their own field. However, they are not experts in everything that autism is. Autism is broader than psychology or occupational therapy. It's broader than ABA. What can be disappointing is that experts suggest the therapy they are expert in or have affiliation with. Those therapies are important. But, it's concerning that they guide parents away from complementary and alternative therapies. Parents are even guided away from basic health promoting ideas such as a healthy diet.

As parents, we have the right to seek out and explore other treatments. They may help our children cope with the challenges of autism.  These therapies provide avenues through which we can enhance traditional therapies.

Of course, talking with your doctor or specialist regarding treatment decisions is an important step in this process as well. We can use this knowledge. We can also use our own research and open-mindedness. We can use them to look at other treatments, like healthy habits and natural therapies. We can use them for ourselves and those around us.

These treatments can provide additional support for those with autism. Other therapies and strategies can help. They provide a more whole approach to autism care. Children become healthier. They also become more comfortable and better able to concentrate. They also become better able to participate in traditional therapies. They can produce lasting effects that enhance the results of other therapies.

A common and obvious example is gut health.  If your child has obvious gut discomfort, such as constipation and diarrhoea, why not take steps to improve gut health?  Our son had chronic diarrhoea when he was diagnosed with autism. Our medical team said this was irrelevant to his autism. They said no action was needed to improve his gut.  Thankfully we decided to explore ways to help his gut.  Improving his gut health had such a profound positive effect on his autism.  It proved the importance of a healthy diet for improving his life.

Poor gut health often contributes to high inflammation.  Not just in the gut, but throughout the body, including the brain.

There's growing evidence that suggests that mental disorders are difficult to resolve when the body is inflamed.  Inflammation puts the body, brain and nervous on edge.  When the body has a persistent stress signal, it's no wonder challenges such as anxiety and depression are more difficult to resolve. 

I believe it's the same for Autism. Many children exceed expectations when they improve health, reduce inflammation, and remove toxins. That's why I encourage parents to strive to improve their child's health. It will help them respond better to other therapies. With this in mind, improving health is a truly complementary strategy. It enhances the other chosen therapies.

The low inflammatory, nutrient dense diet can be a game changer for treating autism. It's like a health elixir. It helps manage symptoms with lower risk of side effects. A diet full of quality nutrient rich foods is essential for good gut health in people with autism. These foods reduce inflammation in the body and brain. They also have other health benefits.

A healthy lifestyle helps reduce autism symptoms. It includes enough sleep, less exposure to toxins, and regular physical activity.  

For more information with real world ideas to implement to improve health, please visit this post.  I don't encourage supplementation without proper testing and advice from a healthcare professional.  Searching the internet and stabbing in the dark can waste a lot of money and can have varying results.  The wrong supplement at the wrong time can make things worse.

Primitive reflex therapy is an alternative treatment for autism. It works by making people's primitive reflexes work better which helps their physical and mental health.  It may even help children overcome persistent toe walking.

Primitive reflex integration is an important step in treating autism spectrum disorder. These treatments involve stimulating the person’s nervous system. This helps them process information more effectively. This connects their brain and body. It helps them to better interact with their environment. I've seen how this therapy helped my own child. It helped him overcome some of his challenges from his ASD diagnosis.

It helps children improve physical skills. These include coordination, balance, and motor skills. It also helps children on the autism spectrum improve communication skills.

There are many other complementary and alternative therapies. Some of them include;

  • Music therapy.  Music therapy can help to improve communication, social skills, and motor skills. It can also be used to reduce anxiety and stress.

  • Art therapy.  Art therapy can help children with autism express their feelings in a safe and creative way.

  • Noise sensitivity therapies such as Tomatis and the Safe and Sound Protocol. These therapies aim to retrain the ear and nerves. They aim to reduce stress in noisy places and certain tones that trigger stress.

  • Energy healing.  We are electrical and chemical beings, so it makes sense that people are effected by electric fields and energy.  Despite the controversy, there is evidence that energy medicine can help.

In reality, any therapy that can address any of the child's symptoms and challenges may be explored. Autism is a complex spectrum of symptoms and challenges, so it's not wise to limit treatment to the "standard of care". Autism is a wide spectrum, so we need to widen and expand our thinking.

You may have realised that the subject of complementary and alternative therapies is dear to my heart.  That's what made the difference for our son.  I could write much more about this topic, but, I need to keep this post brief.  I have written more about various topics.  If you're interested, please explore the other posts.  I plan on writing a detailed post on this topic, but until then, you may want to explore the post - 4 Ways to Heal Autism Naturally at Home.

While you wait for the more detailed post, you can also join our online community for free.  From this community, you can ask questions and get ideas from other parents, including myself.  My job isn't to be the authority on Autism, but my goal is to help parents find the information they need.  Here is the link to the community.  


Combining Treatments For Better Outcomes

It's important to remember that one size does not fit all. That's why many healthcare pros recommend combining different treatments. It gives the best outcomes. By combining treatments, children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can get a complete treatment. It will be more likely to suit their specific needs.

It's particularly important to combine diet and lifestyle improvements with your chosen therapies. For the reasons above, health improvements can boost focus. They can also reduce anxiety and other challenges that children on the spectrum often face.

Complementary therapies and lifestyle changes can enhance any therapy. They do this by improving health.  When your child's body and brain are healthier, it's much more likely that you'll get good results from other therapies.

An added benefit of combining therapies is that you get a wider perspective.  Each therapist has their own experiences to draw on.  It's wise to take advantage of their experience and ask them questions and lean on them for advice.

In the end, the key to treating autism is finding the right mix of therapies. They must work best for each person and family. 

It is important to remember that the goal of autism treatment is not only to reduce symptoms. It is also to help the person reach their full potential.  This means focusing on strengths and abilities as well as challenges.

Find a group of parents that you can talk to and share ideas and experiences.  It's amazing how often a comment from a parent can start you moving a new and rewarding direction.  One small idea can make all the difference.

Families of children with autism work together to help each other.  It's important to consider the whole family when you choose your combination of therapies.  Each person and family are different, so it's important to learn from others and choose what's right for you and your family.  



Autism is a complex disorder that requires an individualised approach to treatment. No one approach fits all. But, many treatments can help people with autism manage their symptoms. They can lead more fulfilling lives.

Treatments can include behavioural therapies, medications, dietary modifications, complementary therapies and educational interventions. The right treatments can ease autism symptoms. They can also help people with autism become more independent.

It is important to remember that each person with autism is unique and will require an individualised approach to treatment. Working with a knowledgeable healthcare team is the best way to ensure the best possible outcome for those with autism.

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No products listed on this website are a treatment for autism.  I do not claim any products listed treat or diagnose any medical condition.  

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