Autism Therapies

[no-glossary]Healing Thresholds provides news, research, and user-generated content on over 500 autism therapy topics. We have layperson-accessible summaries of many published studies on autism therapies. And, we have created comprehensive factsheets for the most popular therapies.

Top Autism Therapies

These factsheets include a review of the scientific evidence supporting the use of each particular therapy as well as a list of resources you can turn to should you choose to implement the therapy. The twelve most popular therapies, which include comprehensive factsheets, are:[/no-glossary]

  • Speech and language therapy (used by 70% of parents)
  • Visual schedules (used by 43.2% of parents)
  • Sensory integration therapy (used by 38.2% of parents)
  • Applied behavior analysis therapy - ABA (used by 36.4% of parents)
  • Social story therapy (used by 36.1% of parents)
  • Vitamin C (used by 30.8% of parents)
  • Vitamin B6 and magnesium (used by approximately 30% of parents)
  • Essential fatty acids (used by 28.7% of parents)
  • Picture exchange communication system - PECS (used by 27.6% of children)
  • Casein-free diet (used by 26.8% of parents)
  • Gluten-free diet (used by 23.1% of parents)
  • Vitamin A (used by 22.0% of parents)

[no-glossary]Other autism therapies

Here are research, news, and comments about nearly 100 other therapies regularly used by parents:[/no-glossary]

  • Cognitive/behavioral therapy (used by 21.3% of parents)
  • Probiotics (used by 20.5% of parents)
  • Discrete trial training (used by 18.7% of parents)
  • Music therapy (used by 16.0% of parents)
  • Mega-vitamin therapy (used by 15.8% of parents)
  • TEACHH (used by 15.7% of parents)
  • DMG (dimethylglycine) (used by 14.0% of parents)
  • Floortime (used by 13% or parents)
  • Weighted vest or blanket (used by 12.8% of parents)
  • Augmentative and alternative communication (used by 12.6% of parents)
  • Melatonin (used by 10.8% of parents)
  • Risperdal (used by 10.2% of parents)
  • Homeopathy (used by 10.2% of parents)
  • L-Glutamine (used by 10.1% of parents)
  • Conductive education (used by 10% of parents)
  • Gentle teaching (used by 10% of parents)
  • Facilitated communication (used by 9.8% of parents)
  • Auditory integration training (used by 9.1% of children)
  • Yeast-free diet (used by 7.6% of parents)
  • Chelation (used by 7.4% of parents)
  • Rapid prompting (used by 7.0% of parents)
  • Antihistamine (used as a sleep aid by 6.7% of parents)
  • Visual integration training (used by 6.5% of parents)
  • Clonidine (used by 6% of parents)
  • Prozac (used by 4.9% of parents)
  • Craniosacral manipulations (used by 4.7% of parents)
  • Ritalin (used by 4.6% of parents)
  • Nystatin (used by 4.6% of parents)
  • Reduced L-glutathione (used by 4.4% of parents)
  • Holding therapy (used by 4.3% of parents)
  • Integrated movement therapy (used by 4.3% of parents)
  • Infant massage (used by 4.1% of parents)
  • Aromatherapy (used by 4.1% of parents)
  • Zoloft (used by 3.9% of parents)
  • Depakote (used by 3.6% of parents)
  • Multisensory environments – Snoezelen (used by 3.5% of parents)
  • Adderall (used by 3.2% of parents)
  • Paxil (used by 2.8% of parents)
  • Feingold diet (used by 2.7% of parents)
  • Transfer factor (used by 2.4% of parents)
  • Dance therapy (used by 2.4% of parents)
  • Joint action routines (used by 2.2% of parents)
  • Tegretol (used by 2.0% of parents)
  • Bolles sensory learning method (used by 1.9% of parents)
  • Neurofeedback (used by 1.8% of parents)
  • Fast forward (used by 1.7% of parents)
  • Secretin (used by 1.6% of parents)
  • Irlen lenses (used by 1.6% of parents)
  • Dexedrine (used by 1.4% of parents)
  • Lindamood-Bell (used by 1.4% of parents)
  • Interactive metronome (used by 1.4% of parents)
  • Pepcid (used by 1.2% of parents)
  • Bethanechol (used by 1.2% of parents)
  • Azrin 24-h toilet training (used by 1.1% of parents)
  • Klonopin (used by 1.0% of parents)
  • Xanax (used by 1.0% of parents)
  • Clozapine (used by 1.0% of parents)
  • Tenex (used by 1.0% of parents)
  • LEAP – Strain & Hoyson 2000 (used by 1.0% of parents)
  • Buspar (used by 1.0% of parents)
  • Osteopathy (used by 1.0% of parents)
  • Self-injurious behavior inhibiting system – SIBIS (used by 1.0% of parents)
  • Diflucan (used by 0.8% of parents)
  • Clathration (used by 0.8% of parents)
  • Extended breast feeding (used by 0.8% of parents)
  • Sporanox (used by 0.6% of parents)
  • Institute for human potential (used by 0.6% of parents)
  • Vancomycin (used by 0.6% of parents)
  • Lithium (used by 0.6% of parents)
  • Rhythmic entrainment interventions (used by 0.6% of parents)
  • Acupuncture (used by 0.6% of parents)
  • Ativan (used by 0.4% of parents)
  • Naltrexone (used by 0.4% of parents)
  • Neural therapy (used by 0.4% of parents)
  • Watsu (used by 0.4% of parents)
  • Intravenous immunoglobulin (used by 0.4% of parents)
  • Electro-aversive therapy – Faradic skin shock (used by 0.4% of parents)
  • Dilantin (used by 0.2% of parents)
  • Tofranil (used by 0.2% of parents)
  • Thorazine (used by 0.2% of parents)
  • Haldol (used by 0.2% of parents)
  • Baudhuin preschool (used by 0.2% or parents)
  • Valium (used by 0.2% of parents)
  • Eden program (used by 0.2% of parents)
  • Inderal (used by 0.2% of parents)
  • Vagal nerve stimulation (0.2% of parents)
  • Movement therapy (not included in survey)
  • PLAY Project (not included in survey)

[no-glossary]Factsheet background

The ranking above comes a publication describing the percentage of parents using each particular therapy to treat their child with autism (Green 2006).

When you look through our therapy fact sheets (which are available for the twelve most common therapies), you will see that everything we state is referenced. In other words, anything we write has been stated by an expert in the field of autism research and reviewed by other experts in the field during the process of publication. If you think we may have misinterpreted information, you can look at the lay summary of the cited reference, the abstract of the cited reference, or you can read the reference itself. In all cases, you will know that what we have written has a reference point in the scientific community. Medical writers who are trained scientists prepare our fact sheets. They are reviewed by a developmental pediatrician with expertise in the field of autism.

Selecting therapies

There are many different therapies that can be used to help a child with autism. While there is no one therapy that is right for all children, most experts agree on three things:

  1. therapy should begin as young as possible
  2. therapy should be tailored to the specific needs of the child
  3. therapy should be reevaluated as the child develops

As a parent, you have three precious resources: time, money, and love. Healing Thresholds has been designed to help you draw on these resources in the most efficient way in order to help your child. To that end, we have summarized the most popular therapies that are used to help children with autism. We also attempt to determine whether or not these therapies are likely to be safe and effective. Remember, every child is unique. You and your team are in the best position to determine whether or not a therapy is working for your child.

Has your child has just been diagnosed with autism? Do you suspect your child has autism? Please start at our New Diagnosis of Autism page.

Other therapy topics

Here is a list of all ~500 therapy topics covered on Healing Thresholds.[/no-glossary]