How We Can Help
Autism Spectrum Disorder Treatment Information
IU Health physicians and counselors use a multidisciplinary approach that combines therapies, medicines and parent training to help you or your child live with autism spectrum disorder.
- Early intervention. We offer services to children between birth and age 3 that can greatly improve your child’s ability to talk, walk and interact with other people. Occupational and speech therapy are often needed.
- Speech therapy. We use various techniques to improve your child’s verbal and nonverbal communication skills. Pictures and symbols may be used instead of words.
- Occupational therapy. We teach skills of daily living, such as getting dressed, eating and relating to others.
- Physical therapy. Movement problems often come along with autism spectrum disorders. Physical therapy uses exercises and activities to strengthen muscles and build motor skills.
- Sensory integration therapy. Exposure to different sensory information can help your child deal with sights, sounds or smells that bother them. This therapy can also assist those who do not like to be touched.
- Joint attention therapy. Children with autism struggle to follow someone else’s gaze or pointed finger to look at something. Joint attention is needed for communication and language learning.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy. This form of therapy connects what you think with how you feel and act. Children learn how to modify their thinking patterns to improve coping. For those on the autism spectrum, this therapy helps challenge negative thoughts with evidence.
- Social skills training. This teaches your child how to interact with others and how to make friends. Social skills training includes repeating and reinforcing certain behaviors to help school-age children have conversations, handle teasing and be a good sport.
- Parent training. You can be taught therapy techniques to use with your child. This can extend skills and professional therapy sessions for speech, behavior and social interactions, and joint attention. Our counselors also support you and remind you to see the progress your child is making, and how to focus on positive changes as they develop.
- Parent advocates. Our therapists connect you with resources and parent advocates who help you work with your child’s school and other care providers to develop the best care and life plans possible.
- Medicines. Risperidone may be prescribed to treat irritability in children with autism between the ages of 5 and 16. It is the only FDA-approved drug for specific autism symptoms. Antidepressants can be used to address depression and obsessive-compulsive behaviors. Stimulants can help increase focus and reduce hyperactivity. Anti-anxiety medicines relieve feelings of anxiety and panic. Families should work with their physician and use medication decision aid tools to determine what, if any, medicines may be best.
- Medication management. Different medicines may be used at the same time to ease symptoms that go along with autism. A psychiatrist will manage and monitor your child’s reaction to these prescription-only drugs and will make adjustments as needed. The psychiatrist also avoids adverse drug interactions.
- School-based therapies. Many children with autism spectrum disorder qualify for special education services or an individualized educational program, under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act.
Autism Spectrum Disorder Locations & Physicians
Use the search options below to find treatments available in your area.
Find a Specialist
Enter a Zip Code to find a specialist at IU Health.
Autism Spectrum Disorder Support Services
Learn more about autism spectrum disorder treatments at these websites:
A Sampling of Autism Spectrum Disorder Support Services
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
This division of the National Institutes of Health offers extensive information on autism spectrum disorders, including current clinical trials.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
This government agency delivers a wealth of information about autism spectrum disorders, including diagnosis, treatments, research and lots of free resources.
Indiana Resource Center for Families with Special Needs
This statewide group provides services and support to families of children with disabilities, including autism. Many families work with IN*SOURCE to find a parent advocate.
Founded by the grandparents of a child with autism, this international organization funds research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism. It also advocates for individuals and families with autism and increases public awareness of autism spectrum disorders. The Autism Speaks’ Autism Treatment Network created a medication decision aid to help families decide if medicine use is right for their child.
HANDS in Autism
This autism interdisciplinary training and resource center is an extension of the Christian Sarkine Autism Treatment Center at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health. Training is provided for school and healthcare professionals, families and individuals, along with research and collaborative efforts to meet community needs.
Asperger’s Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals
Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 1997
1853025771, ISBN-13: 978-1853025778