Is medication a good autism intervention strategy? How much medication should I give my child?


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More often than not, the parent of a child on the autism spectrum, or of one who’s been diagnosed with a learning disability, has faced this question. The same question holds true with professionals.

With numerous drugs, dosages and medical opinions on the matter, what is the right choice?

Don’t overmedicate,” cautions Dr. Greenspan. “If you get a beneficial effect, hold it there. Don’t try to get it ‘perfect.’”

As Dr. Greenspan notes, medication is like a sledgehammer: it is not a perfect science; you can’t make completely accurate dosage determinations. If the child gets too much medication, it will often subdue other developmental functions that you don’t want to subdue.

“When you ask the medication to do less,” he says, “it’s more likely to work.”

Most importantly, Dr. Greenspan emphasizes that children should have an optimal program before medication is introduced. With the support of a good therapeutic program in place first, your child will need less medication. There will be less probability of overmedication, and you aren’t asking the medication to do the whole job.