Treating autism

How do know you if you have autism?

You may be the one to notice that you are bothered by something or that you have problems, but it may also be your parents or teachers at school who notice this. The first action often taken is visiting a general practitioner or the Youth Care Agency (Bureau Jeugdzorg). If they think that you might have autism, you will be referred to a psychologist and/or psychiatrist. By conducting interviews and tests, they will examine where your problems come from and how you can be helped. It is possible that your problems are related not only to autism, but also to other things. For example, you may also have a tendency to be very hyperactive or you often feel sad.

Will it go away?

Autism often never goes away entirely, but treatment can help you learn to deal with it better.


When your problems are identified, a treatment specialist will work with you and your parents to design a good plan to help you feel better. It may be that you will also talk with a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist is a doctor who decides whether you also need medication to help you feel better. There are different types of treatment:

For yourself

  • Psychoeducation and motivation: You learn about what exactly your problems are and how they come about. This helps you deal with them better and gain more self-confidence. You also talk about the advantages and disadvantages of treatment and what will happen if you change your behaviour.
  • Behavioural therapy (social skills training or TOM training): Behavioural therapy helps you learn how to deal with autism on your own. This means that you learn how best to act/respond in various situations. For example, you learn how to better interact with other people or peers. You learn to understand how you can see if someone feels happy or sad. You also learn how to gain more self-confidence and discover what you are really good at. Behavioural therapy can take the form of individual or group sessions.
  • Medication: Medication can sometimes also help. There is no specific medication for autism, but it is possible that you will be given medication for other problems, if you are perhaps hyperactive or become angry or afraid quite quickly. Keep in mind that all medication can have adverse effects, which means that you may actually begin to experience other problems.

For your parents

Parent training:It is also very important that your parents know what the problem is and how they can deal with it. Your parents learn, for example, how they can help you with some things.

At school

During the week, you spend a lot of time at school. That is why it is important that teachers also know what the problem is so that they can also take it into account and deal with it in the right way. They can provide you assistance in completing assignments or allow you to work at a different pace than your classmates. It may be that they will allow you to work at a different pace than your classmates. Sometimes, it may be better for you to go to a special school.

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