The review discusses various interventions that have been used in the treatment of children with autism. It concludes that no single mode of treatment is ever likely to be effective for all children and all families. Instead, intervention will need to be adapted to individual needs and the value of approaches that involve a functional analysis of problems is explored. It is suggested that many so called “challenging” behaviours result from the child's fundamental difficulties in communication and social understanding, or from the ritualistic and obsessional tendencies that are also characteristic of autism. Possible ways in which parents and teachers might deal with problems in these areas are discussed. The importance of early diagnosis, and with it early, practical advice for families is stressed.
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