Since this book is not a book on autism, this section can only provide limited information on the treatment options for autistic children. Autism is a permanent neurological condition that affects language and behavior. It would be hard to say that there is a “cure” for autism. While intense speech therapy and behavioral intervention can drastically improve the behavior and communication skills of an autistic child, children with autism will probably never be as independent as children without autism. Many adults with high-functioning autism live independently, have rewarding careers, and even have families. At the same time, these high-functioning autistic adults still have characteristics that set them apart from their nonautistic peers. They tend to be more aloof, and they are frequently most comfortable when they are alone. There is certain degree of awkwardness in social settings.
A popular approach to behavioral modification for autistic children is a method called applied behavior analysis. This general strategy can be utilized in other arenas such as training athletes, environmental conservation, and parenting.
If you are concerned your child may have some autistic traits, the first thing to do is to talk to your pediatrician. If the doctor shares your concern, your child should be referred to a child behavioral expert for further evaluation. The key to successful intervention in helping your child reach his potential is an early start on the treatment. Intensive speech therapy and behavioral modification programs are necessary to help your child gain valuable skills, and the earlier these programs are instituted, the better your child will do in the future.