Orton – Gillingham Approach – uses “multi-sensory” methodology – “triple enforced” learning means that students may use visualizations/mental imagery, written, and spoken modalities – highly structured, systematic and hierarchical – has been around since the 1930s – primarily for dyslexia, though claims to help various language disorders, including autism – when used as intended, it is intensive and expensive – research generally positive, though some contradictory

Pivotal Response Training (PRT) – pivotal is another word for crucial, and includes general areas, such as motivation, social initiation, and understanding rather than specific behaviors – derived from ABA, but is more child initiated, play based, and does not focus on specific behaviors – part of Early Start Denver Model approach – research seems generally positive but limited

The PLAY Project – (Play and Language for Autistic Youngsters) – uses DIR/Floortime model – focus is on teaching parents to become interventionists using strategies of DIR/Floortime, such as following child’s lead – intensive and expensive, but perhaps a little less so than most other approaches – research limited, but generally positive

PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) – approach most effective for establishing communication motivation and initiation – children are taught to use basic pictures to request objects and basic needs – the official approach, taught by the Pyramid Educational Consultants, is, wait for it…intensive and costly, although probably not as much as many other methods – research generally positive, though mainly for short term use and in single settings – difficult to implement, as at least early on requires multiple caregivers

Rapid Prompting Method (RPM) – the main provider of this is called HALO, which labels their method Soma-RPM, developed by a mother (named Soma) with an autistic son – uses stimuli such as rapid speech and paper tearing to supposedly match the preferred modality of the autistic individual – appears to at least sometimes use facilitated communication to “encourage” communication via pointing – has received media attention from PBS, HBO, and CBS – not backed by any good research, and the long debunked methods of facilitated communication have had multiple tragic results

Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) – developed by Dr, Steven Gutstein – intensive training program, primarily for in home use, intended to gradually strengthen social connections – has multiple catch phrases, such as dynamic intelligence, emotional referencing, flexible thinking, relational information processing, etc. – the RDIconnect company trains certified consultants, who then train parents their specific strategies – potentially expensive, and independent research almost nonexistent

Relational Frame Theory (RFT) – extremely confusing theory of language , using operant conditioning principles and loads of jargon – I haven’t heard of anybody actually using this to treat language disorders, but there is tons of information on the internet from its adherents as if RFT is the greatest thing since sliced bread, and that it can treat everything from stress to autism

Reciprocal Imitation Therapy (RIT) – Dr. Brooke Ingersoll – uses principles of ABA and pivotal response training to specifically address imitation and play abilities – involves parallel play and ties imitation into social reasons for imitating – starts by adult imitating, and providing opportunity for child then to imitate – spends more time selecting things with intrinsic interest than traditional ABA like therapy – seems possibly helpful for specific groups – research very limited at this point

TEACCH – Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication related handicapped Children – school based program developed state-wide in North Carolina, and sometimes used elsewhere – prototype TEACCH model places several children in small self-contained classes, usually with one teacher and one aide – intended to provide autistic individual with structure and organization, with such things as physical boundaries, routines, visually based cues, etc. – sometimes used along with other strategies – some research suggests it may be beneficial, but as usual, almost all research has not been independently verified – also, research results seem to be largely dependent upon skills and experience of staff

Continue reading “A Comprehensive List of Autism Therapies (Part Two of Three)”