There are a variety of treatments to assist those diagnosed with autism. While no treatments directly treat autism itself, recommended treatments focus on treating associated symptoms with psychiatric medications, or behavioral interventions. Because individuals diagnosed with ASD may still be diagnosed with other psychiatric illnesses, obtaining a complete diagnosis is crucial in aiding symptomatic relief.
Therapies that have been studied for efficacy include intense behavioral programs such as Applied Behavioral Analysis or the TEACCH/Structured Teaching method. Frequently, a functional behavioral assessment may be performed that can assist in understanding difficult or uncomfortable behaviors. Often, these interventions will be focused on teaching interpersonal communication skills as well aiding with cognitive tasks. Social skills groups may be useful in improving interpersonal difficulties and social competence, in addition to providing important peer support and modeling. Programs for speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, or behavioral therapy may also help resolve key symptoms. These programs overall have been adapted for a variety of age groups from toddlers to late adolescence and into adulthood.
While clinical manifestations of autism spectrum disorder vary in quality and intensity of symptoms, psychopharmacological treatment may be helpful in relieving symptoms that do not respond to other interventions. ASD symptoms treated with medication may include impulsivity, hyperactivity, mood, anxiety, repetitive behaviors, agitation/aggression, sleep difficulties or psychosis. Risks and benefits, including side effect profiles, as well as the need for ongoing medical monitoring, should be discussed with the treating psychiatrist or other medical professional.