Personalized Treatments for Autism
Doctors and therapists commonly refer to “autism” as the Autism Spectrum Disorder (or ASD) because of how different each diagnosis can be. The Autism Society describes ASD as a complex developmental disability of which there is no single cause, explaining that it often manifests during early childhood and affects an individual’s ability to communicate with others.
Those who have ASD typically have difficulty engaging and relating to those around them and struggle with repetitive actions. However, each case can drastically vary in severity and symptoms—from an individual who can live independently and support themselves to a person who needs in-house support their whole life.
Because there is not one single indicator across every case (or even a majority of cases), it is much harder to treat this disorder. Each person needs a personalized treatment plan and not all autism therapy services are able to accommodate the unique cases they come into contact with.
For this very reason, Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA, therapy is at the core of our care at ABC. We use a variety of techniques to bring positive and encouraging change in behavior, not a one-size-fits-all approach. We offer home-based autism services that are tailored to the child and their family, taking into account the individual’s skills, interests, needs and preferences in the situation they live.
The diversity in developmental delays and disabilities is a hard hurdle to overcome, but it is much easier to cope with, when there are foundations, studies and projects striving to break down the information barriers in front of us.
One such undertaking is SPARK, Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research for Knowledge, which aims to “to speed up research and advance our understanding of autism to help improve lives.” The SPARK study is an online research partnership studying 50,000 individuals with ASD and their families, seeking to determine ASD genetics and risk factors.
In addition to SPARK, there is also MSSING (pronounced “missing” due to the lack of information about autism), which was launched in 2014 by Autism Speaks with Google and the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. While SPARK’s plan is to sequence the exome, MSSING goes a step further and aims to look at “all 3.2 billion letters of genetic code in the human genome,” according to a Newsweek article.
“To provide guidance on personalized care to people with autism, it’s important to fully understand what genetic form of autism each person has,” MSSNG research director Stephen Scherer said. “To accomplish this, we need to perform whole genome sequencing on a large and diverse group of participants and provide this information to the research community in an accessible form.”
Both projects are working to determine and understand the factors that cause different variations of ASD so more personalized treatments can be developed. Because it vital that each person with autism is thought of as a unique case. It’s something we are reminded of with each new family we meet—every situation is different—and that is why we are an autism therapy service that uses ABA therapy and offers home-based autism services. Because we believe building confidence in our clients starts in their environment and techniques need to be uniquely tailored to each person and family.
For questions about our personalized treatments for autism, don’t hesitate to contact us.