Behavioral treatment is not the only option for children with autism and it is typically augmented with other approaches, such as occupational therapy and/or sensory integration training, language therapy, play therapy, or pharmacological intervention. Each of these approaches is grounded in a particular theory of autism. For example, sensory integration theory posits that autism is a disorder with impairments in processing sensory information and methods common to this treatment type are aimed at making the absorption and integration of sensory information more palatable for the autistic child. Methods common to this intervention type include "brushing" the child to enhance vestibular awareness and providing controlled tactile stimulation, such as exposure to objects that are extremely course to extremely rough, in an effort to reduce tactile defensiveness. Interestingly, although there is little or no scientific evidence that treatment of this type is effective in autism, it is a very common component of the education of most autistic children, and parents often express that it is both an important and an efficacious aspect of their child's treatment. Finally, it is important to note that not all treatments for children with autism are based on a behavioral model and may be combined with or replaced by treatment approaches based on other models, such as a developmental one. Developmental models have been particularly useful in the treatment of play, language, and social skills in children with autism, although less documentation is available for this approach.

A unique aspect of the treatment of autism throughout the decades has been the presence of "alternative" approaches, such as swimming with dolphins or other animal therapy, holding therapy wherein the child is held tightly for several hours, art therapy, music therapy, facilitated communication, and megavitamin and hormone therapy. Such intervention approaches come and go, and they have yet to make a solid contribution to our understanding of or the treatment of this complex disorder.



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