Autism therapy and intervention

Every child or adult with autism has unique strengths and challenges, so there is no one size fits all approach to autism treatment and intervention. 

Many people with autism have additional medical conditions such as sleep disturbance, seizures and gastrointestinal (GI) distress. Addressing these conditions can improve attention, learning and related behaviors. Many people also benefit from therapies for communication, social skills, or motor challenges, or to learn other skills like feeding or self-care.

Each autism intervention or treatment plan should be tailored to address the person's specific needs. A person’s treatment plan can include behavioral interventions, other therapies, medicines or a combination of these.

Autism therapies and interventions

Treating associated medical conditions 

A number of medical and mental-health issues frequently accompany autism spectrum disorder. These include:

  • Epilepsy
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Feeding
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder

To better understand and treat the health conditions that frequently accompany autism visit our associated medical conditions page. 

Use of medication

Many families of children and adults with autism are faced with the option of using medicines. This is a medical decision and there is no one right answer. 

It is important to work with your healthcare providers to make sure that when medicine is chosen as a form of treatment, it is taken safely and effectively. Our ATN/AIR-P Medication Decision Aid and ATN/AIR-P Autism and Medication: Safe and Careful Use guide can help you to:

  • Compare the options
  • Consider benefits and risks
  • Clarify personal values
  • Learn about medications and side effects
  • Target Symptoms
  • Know what questions to ask providers