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There’s Nothing Mild about “Mild” Autism

When you or your family are first faced with an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis, it is often difficult to believe/understand all the things that come with such a diagnosis. Many people will begin to do research on the disorder and want to educate themselves so they can best help themselves or others. Often times it is difficult to face reality and many people are drawn into the world of autism “cures”; particularly if they have been diagnosed with “mild autism”. 

What is Mild Autism?

There is no real diagnosis named “mild autism”. Autism disorder is a spectrum, hence the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. There are some people who fall on the more severe side of the spectrum and have trouble with verbal communication or have aggressive behavioral tendencies. There are also those who fall on the less severe side of the spectrum. They may be able to verbally communicate, but still have problems with reading cues, vocal intonation, or body language. Those people who fall on the less severe side of the autism spectrum are sometimes mistakenly said to be “mildly” autistic. 

These individuals who have “mild” autism still have autism. They still have significant developmental and sensory challenges that are severe enough to inhibit normal activities and relationships. With an understanding of the definition of “mild” autism we are able to further explain the myths and problems with the treatment of “mild” autism as something that can be “cured”. 


“Cures” for Mild Autism 

There are many incorrectly termed “cures” for mild autism. Some of these “cures” include homeopathy, melatonin, diet and supplements (Gluten and Casein free diets), probiotics, and even medical marijuana. All of these “cures” do not actually cure mild autism, but many of them are beneficial to help with some problems that come with having autism. 

Because Autism is a developmental disorder there are many health challenges that can accompany an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis. Some of these health challenges can include trouble sleeping, an allergy to gluten and casein (a protein in dairy products), a depleted ability to intake nutrients, and anxious thoughts. 

Many parents, and even some doctors, claim that because children who have been diagnosed with “mild” autism respond well to these treatments, that the entire diagnosis is incorrect. This could not be any further from the truth. Think of it in regards to yourself. If you have a terrible stomach ache, can’t sleep, feel lethargic, fatigued, and anxious all the time, you would also been irritable and cranky and rightly so! You would feel like you constantly have the flu, and any sort of relief would be amazing. That is how these individuals are feeling. These treatments are able to relieve many of these symptoms and allows them to feel back to their normal selves. Once we get over a bad cold we feel ten times better and are more willing to do things like socialize and go out in public, but that doesn’t mean we enjoy it still. As an introvert, I like to remain inside and read a book with my cat, with a cup of coffee next to me, and that is how I feel comfortable. No matter how physically comfortable I am, I still don’t want to get up in front of a room of people and give a speech. 

Many parents believe that because their child is now feeling physically comfortable and is opening up more at home, that they have been “cured” of their mild autism. This is not true. Their child may be more comfortable and happier, but they still will have difficulty with reading cues, vocal intonation, and body language. Their child may be “cured” of their physical ailments, but they still have Autism Spectrum Disorder and this will not change. 


How to “Cure” Autism

There is no “cure” for autism. It is a difficult fact to absorb for many people, but there is hope.  There are many ways to deal with the challenges that come from having Autism Spectrum Disorder, but one the largest and most widely used therapies is ABA therapy. 

ABA therapy, also known as Applied Behavior Analysis, is a type of behavior that relies on the wants and needs of an individual. It has been at the forefront of Autism therapy for decades and has been highly successful for many individuals. The goal of ABA therapy is not to “cure” the challenges that come with having autism, but to help alleviate them. ABA therapy is one of the only tried and true treatments that actually works with the individual and their family to create a customized therapy plan to get to a good place. 


More Resources

If you would like to know more about ABA therapy please visit this blog, which describes many the different tactics used in ABA therapy. 

If you would like to schedule an appointment with an ABA therapist, please call or visit us at Alliance ABA today!

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