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Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic staff

No cure exists for autism, and there is no "one-size-fits-all" treatment. The range of home-based and school-based treatments and interventions for autism can be overwhelming.

Your doctor can help identify resources in your area that may work for your child. Treatment options may include:

  • Behavior and communication therapies. Many programs have been developed to address the range of social, language and behavioral difficulties associated with autism. Some programs focus on reducing problem behaviors and teaching new skills. Other programs focus on teaching children how to act in social situations or how to communicate better with other people. Though children don't always outgrow autism, they may learn to function well with the disorder.
  • Educational therapies. Children with autism often respond well to highly structured education programs. Successful programs often include a team of specialists and a variety of activities to improve social skills, communication and behavior. Preschool children who receive intensive, individualized behavioral interventions show good progress.
  • Medications. No medication can improve the core signs of autism, but certain medications can help control symptoms. Antidepressants may be prescribed for anxiety, for example, and antipsychotic drugs are sometimes used to treat severe behavioral problems.

Managing other medical conditions: Autistic children may also have other medical conditions, such as epilepsy or gastrointestinal problems. Talk to your child's doctor about how to best manage your child's conditions together, and always tell each of your child's health care providers all the medications and supplements your child is taking. Some medications and supplements can interact, causing dangerous side effects.




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