Writing in the Boston Globe, pediatrician Claudia M. Gold says she’s worried about the potential for over-reliance on drugs for the treatment of autism. Already, she says, children with ADHD are getting too much medication. A recent study in the journal Pediatrics found that intensive and focused play, with parent, child and therapist participating together, brought significant improvement in behavior, language and IQ. An excerpt:
Aggressive marketing tactics have made second-generation antipsychotics among the highest-selling classes of drugs in the United States. A study published this fall showed that these drugs cause rapid weight gain in children. Add to these facts an epidemic of childhood obesity and a culture that looks for a quick fix over a long-term solution, and we have a potentially dangerous mix.
The Pediatrics study points in the direction of devoting resources to nurturing relationships in treatment of autism.
When considering medication, I hope all who care for these children will exercise extreme caution.