I recently became curious about how many evidence based treatments exist for aspergers and autism. The difficulty with ‘evidence based treatments’ is that scientists need to devote years of study and resources to highly controlled situations in order to find the ‘evidence’ that the treatment is based on. Much progress is being made, but the autism spectrum encompasses such a wide variability among individuals, that it’s hard to say ‘this will work for every child and adult on the spectrum.’
Treatment Options for the Autism Spectrum
I feel that this quote from the National Institutes of Health summarizes treatment options for the autism spectrum well:
The ideal treatment for AS coordinates therapies that address the three core symptoms of the disorder: poor communication skills, obsessive or repetitive routines, and physical clumsiness. There is no single best treatment package for all children with AS, but most professionals agree that the earlier the intervention, the better.
An effective treatment program builds on the child’s interests, offers a predictable schedule, teaches tasks as a series of simple steps, actively engages the child’s attention in highly structured activities, and provides regular reinforcement of behavior. This kind of program generally includes:
- social skills training, a form of group therapy that teaches children with AS the skills they need to interact more successfully with other children
- cognitive behavioral therapy, a type of “talk” therapy that can help the more explosive or anxious children to manage their emotions better and cut back on obsessive interests and repetitive routines
- medication, for co-existing conditions such as depression and anxiety
- occupational or physical therapy, for children with sensory integration problems or poor motor coordination
- specialized speech/language therapy, to help children who have trouble with the pragmatics of speech – the give and take of normal conversation
- parent training and support, to teach parents behavioral techniques to use at home
Some further browsing across the internet brought me to the Research Autism website. These researchers have done their best to catalog an extensive array of autism spectrum treatments, as well as whether there is research in place to back those treatments up.
I was pleased to find out that video modeling had a green check beside it, showing that there is promise of good results with this specific form of autism treatment. While they emphasize that there are not enough studies published for them to put a full stamp of “this definitely works” on it, they do say that it “appears to show promise as an efficient and effective instructional tool for individuals with autism.”
Model Me Kids
You will see that I highlight a product called Model Me Kids. I don’t believe in promoting a product I don’t believe in. I’ve purchased this product myself, and I use it when working with children on the autism spectrum.
These products are developed for children with: Autism, Asperger Syndrome, PDD-NOS, Nonverbal Learning Disorders, Social Anxiety, and Learning Disabilities and Delays.
Individuals with autism generally tend to have a high propensity toward visual learning. The beauty of these DVD’s is that they break down a host of social skills into fun-to-watch segments that every individual can learn from.
About the Founder
Susan Klein worked as an ABA (applied behavior analysis) therapist prior to starting Model Me Kids. She wanted to create high quality instructional tools to better help individuals on the autism spectrum. She works with a research development team consisting of highly qualified professionals in the autism spectrum field: psychologists, speech therapists, social workers, music therapists.
About the Product
The DVD’s target children and adolescents from ages 9 to 17.
Model Me Tips and Tricks
This DVD provides live models of children demonstrating social skills tips and tricks:
- Voice Modulation
- Personal Space
- Grooming and Hygiene
- Deep Breathing
- Asking for Help
- Sense of Humor
- Being Wrong
Model Me Conversation Cues
In this DVD, you watch as children model conversation skills:
- When to Start Conversation
- Cue: Interested
- Cue: Not Interested
- How to Start Conversation
- Cue: Bored
- Take Turns
- Maintain Conversation
- Talk On Topic
- Cue: Disbelief
- Cue: Confused
- My Cues
- End Conversation
Model Me Friendship
This DVD shows children initiating and maintaining friendships. Skills illustrated and modeled include:
- Say Hello
- Team Sports
- Include Others
- Show Interest
- Maintain Friendship
- Body Language
Model Me Confidence
Here you can watch as children model skills for building self-esteem.
- Peer Pressure
- Choosing Friends
- Building Strengths
- Positive Self-Talk
- Stay With Others
- Telling Isn’t Tattling
- Walk Tall
- Group Discussion
I’ve covered just the DVD’s that I own at this time.
The actual Model Me Kids store has even more products designed for ages 2-8, ages 5-12, and ages 9-17.
Here are just some of their other great autism treatment products:
- Model Me Faces and Emotions DVD
- Time for School
- Time for a Playdate
- Model Me Organization and Motivation
I highly encourage you to stop by their site and check out the products for your children and loved ones on the autism spectrum. And if you are an adult on the autism spectrum, you can still learn from a lot of these DVD’s as well.