ABSTRACT

In recent years, alongside the burgeoning range of theories to explain autism, there has been a dramatic increase in the number and range of intervention approaches proposed. Some of these approaches have been specifically designed with autism in mind, while others are adaptations of approaches found to help children and adults with a variety of other difficulties. Each approach stems from a particular understanding of autism, its nature and causes, and aims to develop a way of compensating for the perceived deficit or enhancing the perceived strengths. Many different approaches have been found to be effective in improving the ability of individual children to make sense of the world in which they live. However, no single approach has yet been found which is effective with all children with autism. Moreover, individual approaches improve the functioning of children with autism, but no approach can be seen as a cure. Elizabeth Newson (1979) believes it is important to address ‘the whole nature of autism’. She feels that as long as interventions concentrate on a single aspect of the condition, they miss the point that

every kind of impairment in autism has links with every other impairment in the syndrome. They all overflow into and pervade each other and it is indeed the interaction between the different parts of the syndrome which is most characteristic of autism.