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Psych group updates guidance on treating autistic children

Psychiatric professionals who diagnose and treat children with autism have a new roadmap to follow regarding delivery of care. It's the first time the guidelines from the American Academy and Adolescent Psychiatry have been updated in 15 years.

Authors of the update say the aim is to provide doctors with a set of best practices for optimal treatments. At the same time, they acknowledge that no two patients are alike and that doctors should take unique circumstances into account when developing plans. What is reportedly the most significant difference in the new guidance is its emphasis on taking a multidisciplinary approach.

We think the information could also prove useful for California parents facing the challenges of raising a child with any form of autism.

Autism is a mental condition that can affect a person's normal development. In its severest forms, it may restrict a person's ability to work. Where children are concerned, this may open the door to them being eligible for Supplemental Security Income benefits from Social Security. The process for obtaining these benefits is legally complicated, however, making it always advisable to enlist the help of an experienced attorney.

The new AACAP guidelines follow a review of some 10,000 autism studies published since 1991. The group says that while the suggestions are meant to address autism issues in children up through age 17, they may also prove beneficial in helping adults who have been diagnosed as being on the autism disorder spectrum.

The specific treatment recommendations reportedly include the following steps.

  • Conducting a full physical exam and genetic workup on the patient.
  • Helping families identify and obtain the array of support, services and treatments that may be beneficial, whether educational, behavioral, medical or developmental.
  • More involvement in long-term planning of care and support of a patient's whole family.
  • Greater consultation with families about the risks and benefits of alternative treatments they may be employing.
  • More targeted application of prescription medicines.  

Source: Disability Scoop, "New Recommendations Guide Treatment For Those On The Spectrum," Michelle Diament, Feb. 4, 2014

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