**NOTE: This is not a comprehensive list nor is this a statement of support or efficacy for the following programs. This is just a list for the sole purpose of educating parents on the possibilities of therapy programs. I recommended that you do extensive research prior to participating in any program or therapy listed.**
If you are aware of additional therapies that are not listed feel free to add them in the comments below!
1.) TEACCH is an acronym for Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children. It is a complete program of services using several methods depending on the individual needs of the child with autism. The goal of TEACCH is to help the autistic child develop as much autonomy as possible by adulthood.
2.) Applied Behavior Analysis or ABA involves the systematic evaluation of the environment to determine factors that cause undesirable behaviors from the child with autism. Positive reinforcement are used to produce behavioral improvements. ABA requires a trainer to work with the child one-on-one for 30-40 hours each week. The Lovaas Model is a type of ABA developed by Ivar Lovaas, PhD.
3.) Vision therapy is useful for individuals with autism who have good eyesight, but have distortions in the ability of the brain to comprehend the visual message. If the sense of vision is unreliable, various undesirable behaviors may occur. Vision therapy helps to make the visual system understandable and to improve behaviors
4.) RDI (Relationship Development Intervention): provides a way for individuals to really understand relationships, and to go beyond scripted behaviors. Parents are able to administer the program so that deeper emotional bonds are established.
6.) The Higashi Method or Daily Life Therapy was developed in Japan, and was imported into the United States. This autism therapy primarily emphasizes the development of self-care skills in order to improve self-esteem. Then, a high amount of attention is given to physical exercise. Communication, social and behavioral skills are also taught in an encouraging environment.
7.) The Developmental, Individual Difference, Relationship-based Approach (DIR)was developed by Dr. Stanly Greenspan and Dr. Serena Wieder. Floortime is one of the key interventions of DIR. The parent connects with their child through play by allowing the child to lead and by keeping the play interactive. Floortime helps the child master developmental milestones that have been delayed.
8.) Play therapy helps the individual with autism to express their feelings and to solve problems with the assistance of toys while learning social skills, communication techniques, and appropriate behaviors through this autism therapy.
9.) Therapeutic horseback riding refers to horseback riding lessons for individuals with special needs, such as autism. Hippotherapy is a form of equine therapy in which the horse is used as a therapeutic tool as its focus is on createing a bond between the child and the horse while it is improving balance, posture, flexibility, muscle strength, and proprioception. Improvements are also noticed in cognition, sensory integration, emotional, social and communication areas.
10.) Pet therapy is a fun way to teach children to understand body language, consequences, responsibilities, friendship and empathy through their relationships with animals
11.) Speech and Language Therapy focuses on improving all aspects of communication including receptive and expressive language, voice, fluency, articulation, as well as social skills (includes non-verbal communcation) and may be done via the use of AAC devices, Picture Communication Exchange System (PECs), Sign Language, Social stories, social scripts and/or other various techniques
12.) Occupational therapy for autism focuses on improving sensory integration and fine motor skills as well as stimming. You really need to find an occupational therapist who specializes in sensory integration dysfunction and, if applicable, dysgraphia (poor handwriting). In addtion, use of weighted blankets and weighted lap pads and weighted vests and weighted neck wraps during occupational therapy and at home is especially beneficial for many children with autism.
13.) Brain Gym is a set of simple movements designed to encourage whole brain learning. These exercises re-pattern the brain to allow access to those parts of the brain that were previously inaccessible.
14.) Auditory integration therapy is appropriate for individuals with autism who have good hearing, but have difficulty processing and understanding the sounds. This condition is called central auditory processing disorder. Dr. Alfred Tomatis originally pioneered this area of therapeutic listening. In addition: The Listening Program. Music therapy is the application of music to encourage development in social, communication, behavioral, cognition, perception, and motor areas. Many autistic individuals already possess an aptitude for music which further enhances their response to music therapy.
15.) The Sound Health Series and the Music for Babies Collection offer further auditory experiences to encourage appropriate brain development and to decrease the effects of toxic noise.
16.) Dance therapy can calm or stimulate, aid communication and socialization, enhance posture and coordination, and improve confidence and self-esteem. You can learn to teach your own child to use everyday movements in their own creative dance.
17.) Art therapy uses the creative process of art and artistic expression to develop communication and social skills, and to reduce stress, anxiety and depression resulting in improved self-esteem and behavior.
18.) The Wilbarger Techniqueis another way to apply deep pressure. A flexible, plastic, and non-scratching surgical scrub brush is used to firmly brush most skin surfaces. The brushing is then followed by joint compressions. Most individuals with autism notice significant improvement in tactile and proprioception sensitivity.
19.) Temple Grandin, PhD is an adult with autism who developed a device to provide her with the application of deep pressure in order to help with calming. The device in known as Squeeze Machine, Squeeze Box, Hug Machine, or Hug Box.
20.) The HANDLE treatment acknowledges that the sensory systems often do not provide adequate information. Various behavioral responses are a result of this faulty information from the environment. The environment is then changed as needed while various activities are initiated to properly integrate the senses
21.) The Interactive Metronomeuses neurosensory and neuromotor exercises to help the brain repair and remodel nerve connections which aid in to increasing internal processing speed within the brain. The individual would match the rhythmic beat heard through headphones with various hand and foot exercises.
22.) Delacato Methodwhich was developed by Glenn Doman and Carl Delacatto. This method stimulates the senses in order to improve sensory integration so that the child has a normal response to various sensory experiences. Learning disorders and behavior problems are improved. Parents work with their child in 2-5 minute blocks at home after completing the evaluation and training at a center. There is controversy surrounding the efficacy of this treatment program.
23.) Craniosacral therapy involves extremely gently manipulations of cranial and sacral bones. This soft touch releases restrictions within the craniosacral system including the cerebrospinal fluid. Chiropractic care provides adjustments to the skeletal system. The central nervous system functions much better with the elimination of these restrictions and with the adjustments to the skeletal system. Massage therapy releases tension from muscles and restrictions from connective tissue. In the process, toxins are also eliminated from the skin, connective tissue, and muscles. These toxins should be flushed out of the body with an abundance of water. You will need to work with a massage therapist who understands that autistic individuals will vary in their need for deep or light touch.
24.) Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves the safe use of compressed ambient air in a large comfortable chamber during a 60 minute session. The higher pressure causes more oxygen to be dissolved in bodily fluids. Your cells are able to access this extra oxygen, to perform essential processes more efficiently, and to heal themselves.
25.) Holding therapy is rather controversial autism therapy. Dr. Martha Welch is a child psychiatrist who taught parents to hold their child while trying to make eye contact and to share feelings. They are to continue to hold the child even if the child was struggling and resisting. Proponents feel that the deep pressure helps with sensory integration dysfunction. Opponents feel that the therapy is traumatic.