Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD): How We Treat


How are autism spectrum disorders treated?

Unfortunately there is no cure for autism spectrum disorders (ASD); however, the goal of ASD treatment at Children's Hospital Colorado is to promote social, adaptive and behavioral function.

Autism Spectrum disorders are evaluated in the Neurosciences Institute

Treatments derived from the behavioral learning theory have the strongest research support. This type of therapy works to reinforce appropriate behaviors and reduce unwanted behaviors, while also suggesting what caregivers can do to prevent problem behaviors.

Medication can also be used to treat some of the symptoms associated with ASD like attention and hyperactivity issues, anxiety, depression and mood instability, aggression or self-injury, obsessive compulsive behaviors and sleep problems.

Some of our psychologists provide treatment using the Early Start Denver Model, which works directly with children and their families. Some of our providers also provide Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Behavioral Therapy, to address some of the behavioral difficulties that are often seen with children with ASD.

Why choose Children's Hospital Colorado for your child's autism spectrum disorder?

For children with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental delays, the Neuropsychiatric Special Care (NSC) program at Children's Colorado is one of the few programs in the country that provides a hospital-based level of crisis care, in addition to our outpatient autism clinics that specialize in diagnosing and children with autism spectrum disorders (from the mild to severe).

A variety of healthcare providers from different disciplines at Children's Colorado work together to help kids with autism. For example, our speech-language therapists help children with autism improve their ability to communicate and interact with others and develop their speech and language skills. Occupational therapists help children with autism find ways to acquire and successfully perform everyday tasks at home and in the community. Physical therapists design activities and exercises to build motor control and to improve posture and balance.

Our Next Steps Clinic, run by our social worker, also assists families in accessing available community resources and provides additional types of support.

Autism research

Our specialists also conduct ongoing research to help improve the lives of kids with autism and their families.  Some of our current and past research studies in autism spectrum disorders include:

  • Effectiveness of Sleep Education
  • Diet and Nutrition
  • Iron Biomarkers
  • Creatine Deficiency
  • Maternal Cholesterol
  • Autism Impact Study
  • Iron and Sleep study

Learn more about our autism research.