What We Are Doing
This page is to outline what we have done and what we are currently doing to help our son Zak with Autism. Our choices for treatment have been determined based on several factors which include:
- Zak’s doctors
- Zak’s educators
- Personal research
- Recommendations from other parents whose child has Autism
There are so many therapies, diets, supplements and products to try but I recommend starting with the critical ones and then adding on. You do not want to delay treatment because early intervention is critical but if you start too many things at once (especially in the area of bio-medical) you may have a hard time determining how effective each component is.
- Speech Therapy: Zak has been receiving speech therapy by a SLP since his diagnosis at age 4 to help with his communication skills. Most every child on the Autism spectrum has difficulty with speech &/or speech delays. Speech therapy is a tool for improving pronunciation & to help build on the ability to use words in the correct format.
- Physical Therapy: Zak has been receiving physical therapy since his diagnosis at age 4 to help with his gross & fine motor skills along with building muscle strength. Children on the spectrum usually have low muscle tone, or have a tough time with coordination and sports. These issues can interfere with basic day-to-day functioning — and they’re almost certain to interfere with social and physical development.
- Occupational Therapy: Occupational therapy focuses on building daily living skills. Since many people with autism have delays in fine motor skills, occupational therapy can be very important. Occupational therapists may also have training in sensory integration therapy – a technique which may help autistic people manage hypersensitivity to sound, light, and touch. Zak’s fine motor skills are not an issue any longer so OT is not a current therapy.
- Social Skills Therapy & Pragmatic Speech Therapy: One of autism’s “core deficits” is a lack of social and communication skills. Many children with autism need help in building the skills they need to hold a conversation, connect with a friend, or even navigate at school. In my opinion, finding a great provider in social skills is difficult. Zak participates in social skills therapy both at his public school as well as with a small group of children at a speech therapy office. It is currently one of our core areas of focus.
- Bio-medical Therapy: Involves trying to treat the underlying causes of the symptoms of Autism, based on medical testing, scientific research, and clinical experience, with an emphasis on nutritional interventions such as nutritional supplements, special diets, testing for food allergies and detoxification. This is a therapy we strongly believe in and have seen amazing results. It can be expensive and in my opinion is the most difficult to implement because a special diet requires dedication & sacrifice. Zak has been on the GFCF diet for 4 years, he also takes several supplements daily. We have done chelation for detoxification. We work very closely with a bio-medical doctor.
A few critical therapies we did not use with Zak (based on age of diagnosis or lack of knowledge when it would have been most effective are: Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), Floortime, Son-rise, and Relationship Development Intervention (RDI).
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