Evidence-based treatments are most recommended by research and medical professionals, however there is no one, single approach. Treatment for autism is highly individualized. So, the best treatments are those that are:
- Provided at the right level and intensity
- Specifically target your child’s areas of strength and need
- Match the context of your family system; and are
- Administered within the context of an integrated intervention team, under the direction and supervision of an interested and competent team leader.
From a simple google search, you will quickly discover that there are many treatments options of varying quality and effectiveness available. They run the gamut from resources well-founded in science to the other extreme, information lacking in scientific support and bordering on quackery. In between are more than a few interventions that seem to have helped some children and that some parents swear by, even if the support is anecdotal. What’s are you to do?
Most informed sources will advise you to build your child’s intervention plan around treatments that have a solid basis in science (i.e. are “evidence-based”). In medicine, evidence-based is defined as “the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients.” In autism intervention, that same standard of care applies, wherein those responsible (the intervention team) think about the individual, the existing science that suggests what treatments might be helpful for that individual, and work with families to implement and track progress for the child.
In the end, it rests upon your family to choose what treatments best fit your needs and the needs of your child. A “complementary” or “alternative” therapy may offer some benefit to your child’s health, disposition, or quality of life, regardless of whether or not it addresses autism directly. With investigation and subsequent consultation with your child’s PCP or intervention team leader, you might decide to include one or more of these therapies in your child’s treatment plan.