The goal in treatment of Asperger’s Disorder is to manage the child’s symptoms and improve his functioning. Parents seeking a cure or to “change” their child will be disappointed by any form of treatment they obtain. Those who understand that Asperger’s Disorder is a lifelong disorder and that treatment has its best effects over the long term will be far more satisfied. Improvement in your child happens over the course of years, not weeks or months.
Your child will likely require a variety of treatments during his childhood and adolescence. Treatments shown to be effective in helping children, teens, and families cope with and manage the symptoms of Asperger’s Disorder include:
• Behavior modification
• Occupational therapy
• Special education
• Social skills therapy
• Speech therapy
Treatment for Asperger’s Disorder must start early, as soon as the diagnosis is made. It must be intensive, meaning many hours per week and in all environments, including home and school. Training yourself on how to raise a child with Asperger’s Disorder is critical to the outcome of your child. Parental support is also important as it is very stressful to raise a child with Asperger’s Disorder. You must be active in your child’s treatment, learning the skills and tools your child learns so that you can reinforce them outside of the treatment setting. Treatment must be individualized to meet the specific needs of your child. Generalization of skills learned in treatment is one of the main goals, hence the need for parents to be actively involved. Parents should view themselves as co-therapists, learning all they can from the treatment team so they can be the therapist at home. Applied Behavioral Analysis is a skill parents must learn in order to teach and reinforce appropriate behaviors. Asperger’s Disorder children should have programs at school to address their symptoms and should be included in the mainstream setting as much as possible.