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What Is a Multidisciplinary Approach for Autism Treatment?

multidisciplinary approach

With increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) — simultaneous with the rise in registered cases — the complex requirements of children diagnosed with autism are now being recognized. Due to this, the multidisciplinary approach to autism treatment has been gaining acknowledgment as the most comprehensive strategy to cover all care needs of children diagnosed with autism.

Searching for a multidisciplinary approach for autism treatment in California? Call Opya at (650) 931-6300 or reach out to our team online.

What Does Autism Treatment Usually Comprise?

There are many types of autism treatments available. These treatments can be broken down into the following categories, although some forms of care involve more than one approach:

  • Behavioral: Approaches like this focus on changing behaviors by understanding what happens before and after the action. Studies have shown behavioral approaches to be effective in treating symptoms of ASD. A notable behavioral treatment for children diagnosed with autism is called applied behavior analysis (ABA). ABA is meant to encourage desired behaviors and discourage undesired behaviors from improving various skills. Two ABA teaching styles are discrete trial training (DTT) and pivotal response training (PRT).
  • Developmental: Approaches like this focus on improving specific developmental skills — such as language skills, physical skills, or a broader range of interconnected developmental abilities. Developmental approaches are often used along with behavioral approaches. The most common developmental therapy approach for children diagnosed with autism is speech and language therapy. There’s also occupational therapy, which teaches children diagnosed with autism skills that help them live as independently as possible.
  • Educational: Approaches like this are typically used in a classroom setting. One type of educational strategy is the treatment and education of autistic and related communication-handicapped children (TEACCH) approach. TEACCH is based on the idea that children diagnosed with autism thrive on consistency and visual learning.
  • Social-relational: Approaches like this focus on improving social skills and building emotional bonds. Some social-relational approaches involve parents, caregivers, or peer mentors. The developmental, individual differences, relationship-based model — also called floor time — encourages parents, caregivers, and therapists to follow the interests of children diagnosed with autism to expand opportunities for communication. The relationship development intervention (RDI) model involves activities that increase the abilities, interest, and motivation of children diagnosed with autism to participate in shared social interactions.
  • Pharmacological: There are no medications that treat the core symptoms of ASD. However, some medications treat co-occurring symptoms that can help children diagnosed with autism function better. For example, medications can help manage high energy levels, inability to focus, or self-harming behavior. Medications can also help manage co-occurring mental health conditions like anxiety or depression.
  • Psychological: Approached like this can help children diagnosed with autism cope with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a helpful psychological approach that focuses on teaching children diagnosed with autism the connections between behaviors, feelings, and thought patterns.
  • Complementary and alternative: Some children diagnosed with autism and their parents or caregivers use forms of therapeutic care that don’t fit into any of the other categories. These treatments can also be called complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Treatments like this are often used to supplement more traditional approaches. They may include animal therapy, art therapy, chiropractic care, herbal supplements, or relaxation therapies.

What Is a Multidisciplinary Approach to Autism Treatment?

As research on ASD advances, many clinicians are incorporating a multidisciplinary approach to evaluations and treatment. However, what is the difference between a multidisciplinary approach and an approach that’s not interdisciplinary? In general, a multidisciplinary approach can both ease and expedite the evaluation process and offer families a helpful range of resources they can pursue during autism treatment for their children.

A multidisciplinary approach uses information collected by professionals and clinicians from various backgrounds and specialties to provide a comprehensive diagnosis and effective treatment. Some common areas of a multidisciplinary approach include the following:

  • Communication
  • Physical therapy
  • Psychology
  • Occupational therapy

When Should You Consider a Multidisciplinary Approach for Autism Treatment?

Multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) are often comprised of professionals from various disciplines who collectively use their different, unique specializations to assess, diagnose, and formulate a treatment plan for those with complex care needs. A multidisciplinary approach is not only for autism treatment but can also be used in other healthcare fields.

Professionals bringing together their skills and know-how for a joint effort in planning, managing, and coordinating a treatment plan can provide a foundation for the inclusion of nontraditional forms of care and the elimination of unnecessary traditional treatments.

If your child diagnosed with autism is having trouble with functions that can make daily living easier, or if you are unhappy with the outcome of their current autism treatment, you should consider a multidisciplinary approach. Switching to this strategy can positively impact their health and education.

Ready To Learn More About Opya’s Multidisciplinary Approach for Autism Treatment?

If you’re looking for a multidisciplinary approach to autism treatment in California, call Opya at (650) 931-6300 today. You can also reach out to our team online.