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Autism is a developmental disability that can cause a complex range of behavioural symptoms and may be mild, moderate or severe.

Autism is a developmental disability that can cause a complex range of behavioural symptoms and may be mild, moderate or severe.
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Treatments for autism

Depending on the severity, caring for a person with autism can be a lifelong commitment for parents and carers. Specific symptoms and social skills can be improved with the right support and programs, and the best outcomes are achieved with early intervention.

Treatments used to manage autism are best started as early in a person’s life as possible. Ideally a diagnosis is made early in a child’s lifetime. Because every child with autism is different, the best results are obtained from a treatment program specifically tailored to a child's individual needs.

Language and social skills are taught through intensive educational programs and behavioural therapies. Speech pathology focuses on developing communication and social skills. Occupational therapy concentrates on sensory motor development, such as learning play and fine motor skills, as well as how to cope in social situations.

Public and private schooling options are available for children with autism. Find out more about schooling options on the Autism Awareness website.

Sometimes claims are made about treatments that are misleading. Avoid treatments that offer a ‘cure’ or ‘recovery’ as there is no evidence to support these claims. Ensure that the treatments and supports you choose are informed by evidence.

Having an autistic child or sibling can be very difficult to cope with and there are support services, such as counselling and respite, available for parents and siblings.

Last reviewed: November 2016

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