What autism intervention strategies are best for my child? What should I do and not do?

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Discussion: To help your child relate, communicate, and think, it’s important to create the best intervention program available. There are a number of strategies that your child may respond positively to, but there are also interventions that you should avoid.

“Steer clear of overly structured exercises, like behavioral approaches,” Dr. Greenspan proposes. “That’s not a natural way of learning, especially with a little baby,” he counsels. “It could really undermine a baby’s nervous system.” Approaches that are natural, healthy and appropriate for a neurotypical child are called for, especially with very young children. “You can do more of what’s natural and healthy and do it in an innovative way,” says Dr. Greenspan.

Something else to avoid? Daycare. Group daycare is bad for children who are at risk for autism – there are not enough caregivers per child, and the child does not get the sustained engagement that is necessary for healthy development.

The other advice Dr. Greenspan dispenses is common sense: “Do not expose the baby to toxic chemicals; pay attention to cleaners, paints, and mold. Don’t unnecessarily expose the baby to any toxins of any kind.”