Treatment for Asperger’s Disorder

By Marina Benjamen, Ph.D.

There are a wide variety of helpful treatments for Asperger’s Disorder that help an individual learn better social skills and communication cues, to help them be able to interact socially more naturally. At present, like most mental disorders, there is no “cure” for Asperger’s Disorder. But by focusing on learning ways to cope with the symptoms and pick up on social cues, most individuals with Asperger’s Disorder lead fairly typical lives, with close friends and loved ones.

Psychosocial Interventions for Asperger’s

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the ideal treatment for Asperger’s coordinates therapies that address the three core symptoms of the disorder: poor communication skills, obsessive or repetitive routines, and physical clumsiness. There is no single best treatment package for all children with AS, but most professionals agree that the earlier the intervention, the better.

An effective treatment program builds on the child’s interests, offers a predictable schedule, teaches tasks as a series of simple steps, actively engages the child’s attention in highly structured activities, and provides regular reinforcement of behavior. It may include social skills training, cognitive behavioral therapy, medication for co-existing conditions, and other measures.

  • Individual psychotherapy to help the individual learn social skills training, to better detect social cues, and how to deal with the emotions surrounding the disorder
  • Parent education and training
  • Behavioral modification
  • Social skills training
  • Educational interventions

Psychiatric Medications

  • For hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity: Psychostimulants (methyphenidate, dextroamphetamine, metamphetamine), clonidine, Tricyclic Antidepressants (desipramine, nortriptyline), Strattera (atomoxetine)
  • For irritability and aggression: Mood Stabilizers (valproate, carbamazepine, lithium), Beta Blockers (nadolol, propranolol), clonidine, naltrexone, Neuroleptics (risperidone, olanzapine, quetiapine, ziprasidone, haloperidol)
  • For preoccupations, rituals and compulsions: SSRIs (fluvoxamine, fluoxetine, paroxetine), Tricyclic Antidepressants (clomipramine)
  • For anxiety: SSRIs (sertraline, fluoxetine), Tricyclic Antidepressants (imipramine, clomipramine, nortriptyline)

With effective treatment, children with Asperger’s disorder can learn to cope with their disabilities, but they may still find social situations and personal relationships challenging. Many adults with AS are able to work successfully in mainstream jobs, although they may continue to need encouragement and moral support to maintain an independent life.

 

APA Reference
Benjamen, M. (2007). Treatment for Asperger’s Disorder. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 20, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/treatment-for-aspergers-disorder/000878
Scientifically Reviewed
    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Jan 2013
    Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.

 

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