Autism Treatment

Even before babies can wrap their tongues around their language they use everything else available to them to tell their parents how they are feeling and what they need. For children with Autism however, communication and social interaction do not come easily, nor are they necessarily desired.

Autism also heads a more common and specific group referred to as Autistic Spectrum Disorders, labelled as such because Autism and similar disorders can vary in degree and type across individuals. This means that although the diagnostic label may be the same, one child may exhibit most of the possible symptoms where another child will only exhibit a few, and one child may experience severe symptoms where another child may experience much milder versions. This is why Autism is often defined as either a low-functioning type (many symptoms or severe effects) or a high-functioning type (few symptoms or mild effects).

Common symptoms of Autism in children

limited speech

inability to receive or use language

not responding to familiar stimuli (e.g. hearing own name)

poor non-verbal communication

avoiding eye-contact

avoiding physical touch

tendency to repeat word or phrases

repeated motor movements

shows strict adherence to rituals

picky with food (chooses to eat same food)

intolerance to change

extreme reaction to neutral stimuli e.g. screaming in response to gentle touch

neutral reactions to extreme stimuli e.g. preference for high pitched sounds

poor sensory integration (Hypersensitivity or Hyposensitivity)

poor motor skills

lower cognitive ability

It should be noted though as well that some children with Autism may still demonstrate nonverbal gestures and attempt to engage with the environment. Some autistic children may also be talented in specific areas where language is not required, such as mathematics or music.

What causes Autism?

There seem to be two main ways in which Autism appears in children. Either the condition is present from birth and all facets of the child’s development are delayed, or the child demonstrates normal development for the first 2–3 years before regressing in speech and social interaction. Autism, like all developmental disorders, reflects a problem with the way the brain develops. The number of symptoms and degree of their severity depends on the individual and its causes remain a unknown – while it seems that there is a genetic element there may also be biochemical reasons or issues that occurred before, during or after birth.

The difference between Autism and Asperger’s

Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome are often discussed in the same breath but it is important to understand their distinction. Occasionally Asperger’s is labelled as a high-functioning form of Autism but this does not reflect the major difference between the two disorders. Children with Asperger’s Syndrome do not experience the same language or cognitive deficits as children with Autism and for this reason are able to interact more with the people around them and demonstrate interest or knowledge in particular subjects. While children with Autism often (but not always) have some form of intellectual disability, children with Asperger’s Syndrome do not, by definition, have significant intellectual problems. This means that children with Asperger’s also have a better chance of living more independently as they grow older.

The reason that communication deficiencies are not noted in children who have Asperger’s Syndrome is because it has a later onset – initial development of language and cognition has generally taken place which allows basic communication to occur. Although children with Asperger’s may use language to communicate more than those with Autism, they still tend to lack much of the social awareness that would make their interactions as effortless and adaptive as those of children with no developmental disorder.

Click here to learn more about Asperger’s syndrome

Autism and Auditory Symptoms

Speech and language develop in synchrony with the growing brain. So do motor skills, balance, coordination and sensory integration. If any part of this process is disturbed, it is highly likely that the resulting problems will not be restricted to only one developmental domain. Children with Autism rarely have hearing problems but do tend to display abnormal listening patterns. Children with Autism can be hypersensitive to certain sounds and can shut themselves off from auditory stimulation either from their own voice or from the outside environment. This may lead to an unwillingness to communicate both verbally and physically.

Are you looking for help in assessing or managing your child’s Autism?

Our clinics offer comprehensive assessments and personalized, medication-free programs

Auditory Training Programs for Autism

The Auditory Training Program has been shown to assist some children with Autism and some of the improvements commonly seen are a normalization of listening patterns and a greater tolerance for many sounds – this in turn may lead to an increased desire to communicate where children begin to attend to the sound of their voice and the voice of their parents and family leading to greater experimentation at language and improvements in receptive and expressive language.

The Auditory Training Program is not a cure for Autism but is known to assist in attenuating the severity of symptoms and behaviours. Other positive changes that have been documented include: decreased tactile defensiveness, increased adaptation to change, improved listening response to verbal and non-verbal communication, better eye contact, improved emotional response, improved social skills and a decrease of repetitive behaviour.

Learn more about the Auditory Training Program

Are you considering our therapy programs for your child?

Get in touch with our friendly staff to arrange a consultation and assessment

Level 1, 66 Whitehorse Rd, Balwyn VIC
Level 19, 56 Pitt St, Sydney NSW

T: (03) 9816 8811

E: [email protected]


Listen And Learn Centre is part of the neurocare group, a global network of clinics providing personalised and sustainable therapies for mental health, learning and development.

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