Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Reference Tool - A list and brief description of about every type of therapy out there for autism!

Posted by on Aug. 22, 2011 at 2:20 PM
  • 31 Replies
14 moms liked this

I gathered all I could find, if you know of any I left off just post below.  I thought this would be a great reference tool especially if your child is newly diagnosed or if you are struggling with a behavior or delay and want to know if there is something out there to help.


TEACCH is an acronym for Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children. It is a complete program of services using several methods depending on the individual needs of the child with autism. The goal of TEACCH is to help the autistic child develop as much autonomy as possible by adulthood.

 Applied Behavior Analysis or ABAinvolves the systematic evaluation of the environment to determine factors that cause undesirable behaviors from the child with autism. Positive reinforcers are then used to produce behavioral improvements. ABA requires a trainer to work with the child one-on-one for 40 hours each week. The Lovaas Modelis a type of ABA developed by Ivar Lovaas, PhD.

 Another autism therapy is RDI which stands for Relationship Development Intervention. This intervention provides a way for individuals to really understand relationships, and to go beyond scripted behaviors. Parents are able to administer the program so that deeper emotional bonds are established.

Barry Neil and Samahria Kaufman developed the Son-Rise Program. This autism therapy was greatly successfully on their son, Raun. The program encourages the parent to participate with their child with the repetitive and ritualistic behaviors, to use the child's own motivation, and to teach with interactive play in the home.

The Higashi Method or Daily Life Therapy was developed in Japan, and was imported into the United States. This autism therapy primarily emphasizes the development of self-care skills in order to improve self-esteem. Then, a high amount of attention is given to physical exercise. Communication, social and behavioral skills are also taught in an encouraging environment.

The Developmental, Individual Difference, Relationship-based Approach (DIR)was developed by Dr. Stanly Greenspan and Dr. Serena Wieder.

Floortimeis one of the key interventions of DIR. The parent connects with their child through play by allowing the child to lead and by keeping the play interactive. Floortime helps the child master developmental milestones that have been delayed.

Play therapy helps the individual with autism to express their feelings and to solve problems with the assistance of toys. They can learn social skills, communication techniques, and appropriate behaviors through this autism therapy.

Therapeutic horseback riding refers to horseback riding lessons for individuals with special needs, such as autism. Hippotherapyis also a form of equine therapy in which the horse is used as a therapeutic tool. Horseback riding is therapeutic because it creates a bond between the child and the horse while it is improving balance, posture, flexibility, muscle strength, and proprioception. In addition, improvements are noticeable in cognition, sensory integration, emotional, social and communication areas.

 Pet therapy is a fun way to teach children to understand body language, consequences, responsibilities, friendship and empathy. Since my daughter loves animals, she is eager to learn these skills from her pet cats and her pet dogs.

Occupational therapy for autism focuses on improving sensory integration and fine motor skills as well as stimming. You really need to find an occupational therapist who specializes in sensory integration dysfunction and, if applicable, dysgraphia (poor handwriting).

 The use of weighted blankets and weighted lap pads and weighted vests and weighted neck wraps during occupational therapy and at home is especially beneficial for many children with autism.

Brain Gym is a set of simple movements designed to encourage whole brain learning. These exercises re-pattern the brain to allow access to those parts of the brain that were previously inaccessible.

Vision therapy is useful for individuals with autism who have good eyesight, but have distortions in the ability of the brain to comprehend the visual message. If the sense of vision is unreliable, various undesirable behaviors may occur. Vision therapy helps to make the visual system understandable and to improve behaviors.

Approximately 50% of individuals with autism also have sensitivity to lights, glare, patterns, colors and contrast resulting in visual perceptual distortions. In the Irlen Method, the individual is tested for sensitivities to wavelengths of light. Then, the appropriate colored filters, Irlen colored overlays, and Irlen lenses are used to correct these distortions.

 Auditory integration therapy is appropriate for individuals with autism who have good hearing, but have difficulty processing and understanding the sounds. This condition is called central auditory processing disorder.Dr. Alfred Tomatis originally pioneered this area of therapeutic listening. My children have successfully used these techniques with The Listening Program. Music therapy is the application of music to encourage development in social, communication, behavioral, cognition, perception, and motor areas. Many autistic individuals already possess an aptitude for music which further enhances their response to music therapy.

 The Sound Health Series and the Music for Babies Collection offer further auditory experiences to encourage appropriate brain development and to decrease the effects of toxic noise.

 Another autism therapy is dance therapy. Dance can calm or stimulate, aid communication and socialization, enhance posture and coordination, and improve confidence and self-esteem. You can even learn to teach your own child to use everyday movements in their own creative dance.

Art therapy uses the creative process of art and artistic expression to develop communication and social skills, and to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. As a result, self-esteem and behavior also improve significantly.

Temple Grandin, PhD is an adult with autism who developed a device to provide her with the application of deep pressure in order to help with calming. The device in known as Squeeze Machine, Squeeze Box, Hug Machine, or Hug Box. The Wilbarger Techniqueis another way to apply deep pressure. A flexible, plastic, and non-scratching surgical scrub brush is used to firmly brush most skin surfaces. The brushing is then followed by joint compressions. Most individuals with autism notice significant improvement in tactile and proprioception sensitivity.


Holding therapyis rather controversial autism therapy. Dr. Martha Welch is a child psychiatrist who taught parents to hold their child while trying to make eye contact and to share feelings. They are to continue to hold the child even if the child was struggling and resisting. Proponents feel that the deep pressure helps with sensory integration dysfunction. Opponents feel that the therapy is especially traumatic.

The HANDLE treatment acknowledges that the sensory systems often do not provide adequate information. Various behavioral responses are a result of this faulty information from the environment. The environment is then changed as needed while various activities are initiated to properly integrate the senses.

The Interactive Metronomeuses neurosensory and neuromotor exercises to help the brain repair and remodel nerve connections. This method helps to increase internal processing speed within the brain. The individual would match the rhythmic beat heard through headphones with various hand and foot exercises.

Another autism therapy is the Delacato Methodwhich was developed by Glenn Doman and Carl Delacatto. This method stimulates the senses in order to improve sensory integration so that the child has a normal response to various sensory experiences. Learning disorders and behavior problems are improved. Parents work with their child in 2-5 minute blocks at home after completing the evaluation and training at a center.

 Speech and language therapy is appropriate for individuals with autism who have difficulties speaking appropriately. However, if your autistic child already knows how to speak properly, then he may need to understand how to communicate effectively using eye contact, facial expressions, and body language. You really need a therapist who specializes in autism and who understands these larger communication issues.

 Sign language may be useful for children with autism who have limited communication skills. Also, sign language can provide a way for them to communicate as well as a way to enhance language development.

 The Picture Exchange Communication system (PECS) is used to teach mostly nonverbal individuals conversation.

Initially, the child with autism learns to show pictures to get something that they want. Then, they gradually learn to build sentences.

Personal picture communication cards are the particularly meaningful to your own child.

Craniosacral therapyinvolves extremely gently manipulations of cranial and sacral bones. This soft touch releases restrictions within the craniosacral system including the cerebrospinal fluid. Chiropractic careprovides adjustments to the skeletal system. The central nervous system functions much better with the elimination of these restrictions and with the adjustments to the skeletal system.

Massage therapy releases tension from muscles and restrictions from connective tissue. In the process, toxins are also eliminated from the skin, connective tissue, and muscles. These toxins should be flushed out of the body with an abundance of water. You will need to work with a massage therapist who understands that autistic individuals will vary in their need for deep or light touch.

 Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves the safe use of compressed ambient air in a large comfortable chamber during a 60 minute session. The higher pressure causes more oxygen to be dissolved in bodily fluids. Your cells are able to access this extra oxygen, to perform essential processes more efficiently, and to heal themselves. Much scientific research validates the effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for individuals with autism and many other medical conditions.

Social skills training as autism therapy is vital. You can use social stories, story scripts, or social scripts.

Social stories were developed by Carol Gray. They are brief narratives written from the perspective of the autistic child. These stories describe a situation, give explanations about the thought and feelings of all characters, and provide directions regarding the appropriate response. Social stories allow the child with autism to perform more appropriately in social situation.

Story scripts have a variety of formats and are written in a variety of styles. They were developed by Soft Touch, Inc.

Social scripts were developed by Caroline Musselwhite and Linda Burkhart for users of augmentative communication devices. They help these individuals with autism develop social conversations.


by on Aug. 22, 2011 at 2:20 PM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
by on Aug. 22, 2011 at 2:27 PM

How WONDERFUL!!!!  That is so great!!  :)

by on Aug. 22, 2011 at 3:26 PM

 Thanks for sharing

by on Feb. 27, 2012 at 11:58 PM

 which have you tried?

by on Mar. 22, 2012 at 7:13 PM
1 mom liked this

 I am moving this up for our new members

by on Mar. 22, 2012 at 7:20 PM
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
by on Mar. 22, 2012 at 7:26 PM
roguem- you are so helpful and knowledgable about autism, i appreciate it as i'm sure many of the other women on the site do, we use teacch in my classroom, a little bit of everything depending on the individual child's needs, every child is different
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
by on Mar. 22, 2012 at 8:00 PM

 Thank you so much for your kind words - they mean alot :)  Hugs

Quoting justbrittanyb:

roguem- you are so helpful and knowledgable about autism, i appreciate it as i'm sure many of the other women on the site do, we use teacch in my classroom, a little bit of everything depending on the individual child's needs, every child is different


by on Mar. 22, 2012 at 11:48 PM

What a great list!!

by on Mar. 28, 2012 at 12:20 PM

Hello. I am new to this website. My son is 13 years old and has been diagnosed with Adhd and is in the autism spectrum. It gets frustrating when he has a meltdown. I don't know anyone in my area that maybe I can chat with some advice or

by on Mar. 28, 2012 at 2:59 PM
1 mom liked this

martial arts therapy use of martial arts in a controlled and structured environment to facilitate socialization, increased eye contact, gross and fine motor strengthening and buildiong self esteem and confidence.

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)