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ASDs, similar to other neurodevelopmental disabilities, are generally not “curable,” and chronic management is required.Although outcomes are variable and specific behavioral characteristics change over time, most children with ASDs remain within the spectrum as adults and, regardless of their intellectual functioning, continue to experience problems with independent living, employment, social relationships, and mental health.

Educational interventions, including behavioral strategies and habilitative therapies, are the cornerstones of management of ASDs.Effective medical management may allow a child with an ASD to benefit more optimally from educational interventions.Education has been defined as the fostering of acquisition of skills and knowledge to assist a child to develop independence and personal responsibility; it encompasses not only academic learning but also socialization, adaptive skills, communication, amelioration of interfering behaviors, and generalization of abilities across multiple environments.For example, contemporary comprehensive behavioral curricula borrow from developmental or cognitive approaches (such as addressing joint attention, reciprocal imitation, symbolic play, and theory of mind and using indirect language stimulation and contingent imitation techniques), and some developmental models (eg, the Denver model) and the structured teaching approach of the Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children (TEACCH) program use behavioral techniques to fulfill their curriculum goals.Although programs may differ in philosophy and relative emphasis on particular strategies, they share many common goals, and there is a growing consensus that important principles and components of effective early childhood intervention for children with ASDs include the following Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is the process of applying interventions that are based on the principles of learning derived from experimental psychology research to systematically change behavior and to demonstrate that the interventions used are responsible for the observable improvement in behavior.Traditional ABA techniques have been modified to address these issues.Naturalistic behavioral interventions, such as incidental teaching and natural language paradigm/pivotal response training, may enhance generalization of skills.Functional behavior analysis, or functional assessment, is an important aspect of behaviorally based treatment of unwanted behaviors.Most problem behaviors serve an adaptive function of some type and are reinforced by their consequences, such as attainment of (1) adult attention, (2) a desired object, activity, or sensation, or (3) escape from an undesired situation or demand.In addition to routine preventive care and treatment of acute illnesses, management of sleep dysfunction, coexisting challenging behaviors or psychiatric conditions, and associated medical problems, such as seizures, may be particularly important.Medications have not been proven to correct the core deficits of ASDs and are not the primary treatment.

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