Treat autism early

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The BBC’s series on people with hidden disabilities should be applauded. This week it featured Chris Goodchild, who has Asperger’s syndrome, which is on the autism spectrum. Chris was diagnosed in his 40s.

Given there are about 850 treatments for autism, with 11 having some evidential support, there are two which have substantial, long-term clinical trial results demonstrating their effectiveness and pivotal response treatment (PRT) is one.

As the only specialist centre using PRT in the country, the therapeutic approach can be helpful at any age, but the most impressive statistics relate to young children – 95 per cent of those who begin treatment before they are three-and-a-half years old become verbal.

However, not all parents are fortunate to experience early intervention techniques as by the time their child is diagnosed with autism it is often too late.

We need to improve how we treat the increasing number of people who have autism and related conditions, giving children the help they so desperately need, as early as possible.

To turn the saying on its head: where there’s a will, there’s a way. We have ways to help young people with autism – let’s have the will to use them.

Ruth Glynne-Owen

Founder, Speur-Ghlan

Bridge of Allan