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Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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In children:

Management of abnormal behaviour using behavioural methods may control some of the abnormal behaviour seen in autistic children.

Arrangement for social and educational services must be made - special day schools; residential schooling may be necessary if the condition is severe.

Help for the family is required, with the need for continuing support and repeated encouragement in a family's efforts to help their child develop his remaining potential for normal development.

In adults (1):

Psychosocial interventions for the core symptoms of autism

For adults with autism without a learning disability or with a mild to moderate learning disability, who have identified problems with social interaction, consider:

  • a group-based social learning programme focused on improving social interaction
  • an individually delivered social learning programme for people who find groupbased activities difficult

Social learning programmes to improve social interaction should typically include:

  • modelling
  • peer feedback (for group-based programmes) or individual feedback (for individually delivered programmes)
  • discussion and decision-making

Pharmacological interventions for challenging behaviour

Consider antipsychotic medication for challenging behaviour on its own when psychosocial or other interventions could not be delivered because of the severity of the challenging behaviour.

Antipsychotic medication should be prescribed by a specialist and quality of life outcomes monitored carefully.

Review the effects of the medication after 3-4 weeks and discontinue it if there is no indication of a clinically important response at 6 weeks.

Do not routinely use anticonvulsants for the management of challenging behaviour in adults with autism.


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