ZocdocAnswersWhat type of autistic would benefit from autism therapy?

Question

What type of autistic would benefit from autism therapy?

Does someone with Asperger's need therapy? He refuses to go, but I think it would help him a lot. He's a nice guy.

Answer

Asperger's disorder is a pervasive developmental disorder on the autism spectrum. Asperger's disorder is characterized by impairment in social interaction (including impairments in normal nonverbal social behaviors such as eye contact, failure to develop normal social relationships, and lack of social or emotional reciprocal behaviors) and repetitive or stereotyped behaviors, interests, or activities (including preoccupation with specific isolated interests, inflexible adherence to specific rituals or routines, and repetitive nonfunctional motor habits or mannerisms). In order for these characteristics to be classified as Asperger's disorder, the developmental abnormalities have to be severe enough to cause significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. People with Asperger's disorder have varying levels of social and behavioral impairment; thus, treatment is individualized based on a given patient's needs. The approach to treating Asperger's disorder requires the interaction and cooperation of a variety of professionals, including psychiatrists, psychologists, behavioral therapists, and special educators. Much of the treatment of Asperger's disorder is centered around psychological or behavioral therapy. These therapies are based on improving emotional regulation, social skills, language skills, and adaptive life skills important for independent living. Academic or occupational support is also an important aspect of behavioral therapy for Asperger's disorder. These therapies are often performed by a developmental psychologist or special educator and have been shown to be very beneficial for improving social and occupational functioning in patients with Asperger's. Any individual with Asperger's disorder should have regular contact with a psychiatrist who can coordinate the many therapeutic interventions available to help patients with this disease. Depending on the severity of the deficits a given patient experiences, a psychiatrist would be able to recommend the specific types, frequency, and intensity of therapy that would be most beneficial.

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