Russian Psychological Issues
JournalsTopicsAuthorsEditor's Choice For AuthorsAbout PsyJournals.ruContact Us

  Previous issue (2020. Vol. 18, no. 3)

Autism and Developmental Disorders

Publisher: Moscow State University of Psychology and Education

ISSN (printed version): 1994-1617

ISSN (online): 2413-4317


License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Started in 2003

Published quarterly

Free of fees
Open Access Journal


Overview of Various Treatment Approaches and Their Impact on Several Difficult-to-Treat Conditions 119


Edelson S.M.
Doctor of Psychology, Executive Director, Autism Research Institute, San Diego, USA

Several therapeutic approaches including medical, nutritional, sensory, and behavioral are reported to be effective in treating debilitating conditions often associated with autism. An overview of these approaches is discussed within the context of three difficult-to-treat conditions including anxiety, self-harming behavior, and sleep disturbances.

Keywords: utism, treatment, medical approach, sensory approach, nutrition approach, sleep disturbances, anxiety, self-harming behavior

Column: Education & Intervention Methods


For Reference

  1. Abel E., Kim S.Y., Kellerman A.M., Brodhead M.T. Recommendations for identifying sleep problems and treatment resources for children with autism spectrum disorder. Behavior Analysis in Practice, 2017, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 261—269. DOI:10.1007/ s40617-016-0158-4 
  2. Aronoff E., Hillyer R., Leon M. Environmental enrichment therapy for autism: Outcomes with increased access. Neural Plasticity, 2016, vol. 2016, article ID 2734915. 23 p. DOI:10.1155/2016/2734915
  3. Bestbier L., Williams T.I. The immediate effects of deep pressure on young people with autism and severe intellectual difficulties: Demonstrating individual differences. Occupational Therapy International, 2017, vol. 2017, article ID 7534972. 7 p. DOI:10.1155/2017/7534972
  4. Buckely A.W., Hirtz D., Oskoui M., Armstrong M.J., Batra A. et al. Practice guideline: Treatment for insomnia and disrupted sleep behavior in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder. Neurology, 2020, vol. 94, no.9, pp. 392—404. DOI:10.1212/WNL.0000000000009033
  5. Carr E.G. The motivation of self-injurious behavior: A review of some hypotheses. Psychological Bulletin, 1977, vol. 84, no. 4, pp. 800—816. DOI:10.1037/0033-2909.84.4.800
  6. Carr E.G., Edelson S.M. Integrating biomedical and behavioral science: The happy future ahead. The Autism File, 2009, no. 32, pp. 17—20.
  7. Carr E.G., McDowell J.J. Social control of self-injurious behavior of organic etiology. Behavior Therapy, 1980, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 402—409. DOI:10.1016/S0005-7894(80)80056-6
  8. Coleman M. Clinical presentation of patients with autism and hypocalcinuria. Developmental Brain Dysfunction, 1994, vol. 7, pp. 63—70.
  9. DeFilippis M., Wagner K.D. Treatment of autism spectrum disorder in children and adolescents. Psychopharmacology Bulletin, 2016, vol. 46, no. 2, pp. 18—41.
  10. De Lissovoy V. Head banging in early childhood. Child Development, 1962, vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 43—56. DOI:10.2307/1126631
  11. Edelson S.M. Implications of sensory stimulation in self-destructive behavior. American Journal of Mental Deficiency, 1984, vol. 89, no. 2, pp. 140—145.
  12. Edelson S.M. Introduction. In Edelson S.M., Johnson J.B. (eds.) Understanding and treating self-injurious behavior in autism. London: Publ. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2016. Pp. 11—17. ISBN 978-1-84905741-7.
  13. Edelson S.M. Optimizing autism treatment [Web resource] / Autism Research Institute. 2019. URL: https://www.autism. org/optimizing-autism-treatment/  (Accessed 07.09.2020).
  14. Edelson S.M., Edelson M.G., Kerr D.C., Grandin T. Physiological and behavioral changes of deep pressure: A pilot study investigating the efficacy of Temple Grandin’s Hug Machine. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 1999, vol. 53, no. 2, pp. 145—152. DOI:10.5014/ajot.53.2.145
  15. Edelson S.M., Johnson J.B. (eds.) Understanding and treating self-injurious behavior in autism. London: Publ. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2016. 302 p., il. ISBN 978-1-84905741-7.
  16. Edelson S.M., Taubman M.T., Lovaas O.I. Some social contexts to self-destructive behavior. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 1983, vol, 11, no. 2, pp. 299—311. DOI:10.1007/BF00912093
  17. Eissa N., Al-Hougani M., Sadeq A., Ojha S.K., Sasse A., Sadek B. Current enlightenment about etiology and pharmacological treatment of autism spectrum disorder. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 2018, vol. 12, p. 304. DOI:10.3389/fnins.2018.00304
  18. Elliott B. The 9 best foods to eat before bed [Web resource] / Healthline. 2017, October 23. URL: https://www.healthline. com/nutrition/9-foods-to-help-you-sleep  (Accessed 07.09.2020).
  19. Ferster C.B., DeMyer M.K. A method for the experimental analysis of the behavior of autistic children. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 1962, vol. 32, pp. 89—98. DOI:10.1111/j.1939-0025.1962.tb00267.x
  20. Gillott A., Furniss F., Walter A. Anxiety in high-functioning children with autism. Autism, 2011, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 277—286. DOI:10.1177/1362361301005003005
  21. Glickman G. Circadian rhythms and sleep in children with autism. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 2010, vol. 34, no. 5, pp. 755—768. DOI:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2009.11.017
  22. Grandin T. Thinking in pictures: My life with autism. New York: Publ. Doubleday, 1995. 222 p., il. ISBN 978-0- 38547792-5.
  23. Green J., O’Hara N. (2016). Medical and nutritional approaches to treating self-injurious behavior and aggression in autism spectrum disorder: Fifteen case studies. In Edelson S.M., Johnson J.B. (eds.) Understanding and treating self- injurious behavior in autism. London: Publ. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2016. Pp. 109—127. ISBN 978-1-84905741-7.
  24. Groden J., Cautela J., Prince S., Berryman J. (1994). The impact of stress and anxiety on individuals with autism and developmental disabilities. In Schopler E., Mesibov G.E. (eds.) Behavioral Issues in Autism. New York: Publ. Plenum Press, 1994. Pp. 177—194. ISBN  978-0-30644600-9.
  25. Groden J., Weidenman L., Diller A. Relaxation: A Comprehensive Manual for Children and Adults with Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities. 2nd edition. Champaign: Publ. Research Press Publishers, 2016. 122 p., il. ISBN 978-0- 87822702-0.
  26. Groden J., Weidenman L., Woodard C.R. A stress-reduction approach to addressing self-injurious behavior in individuals with autism. In Edelson S.M., Johnson J.B. (eds.) Understanding and treating self-injurious behavior in autism. London: Publ. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2016. Pp. 231—275. ISBN 978-1-84905741-7.
  27. Howard J.S., Sparkman C.R., Cohen H.G., Green G., Stanislaw H. A comparison of intensive behavior analytic and electric treatments for young children with autism. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 2005, vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 359—383. DOI:10.1016/j.ridd.2004.09.005
  28. Howard J.S., Stanislaw H., Green G., Sparkman C.R., Cohen H.G. Comparison of behavior analytic and eclectic early interventions in young children with autism after three years. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 2014, vol. 35, no. 12, pp.  3326—3344. DOI:10.1016/j.ridd.2014.08.021
  29. Irlen H., Lass M.J. Improving reading problems due to symptoms of Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome using Irlen lenses and overlays. Education, 1989, vol. 109, no. 4, pp. 413—417.
  30. Kanner L. Autistic disturbances of affective contact. Nervous Child, 1943, vol. 2, pp. 217—250.
  31. Khanna P., Chattu V.K., Aeri B.T. Nutritional aspects of depression in adolescents — a systematic review. International Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2019, vol. 10, no. 1, p. 42. DOI:10.4103/ijpvm.IJPVM_400_18
  32. Klukowski M., Wasilewska J., Lebensztejn D. Sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances in autism spectrum disorder in children. Developmental Period Medicine, 2015, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 157—161.
  33. Lie J.D., Tu K.N., Shen D.D., Wong B.M. Pharmacological treatment of insomnia. Pharmacy & Therapeutics, 2015, vol. 40, no. 11, pp. 759—768.
  34. Lovaas O.I., Freitag G., Kinder M.I., Rubenstein B.D., Schaeffer B., Simmons J.Q. Establishment of social reinforcers in two schizophrenic children on the basis of food. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 1966, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 109—125. DOI:10.1016/0022-0965(66)90011-7
  35. Lovaas O.I., Simmons J.Q. Manipulation of self-destruction in three retarded children. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1969, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 143—157. DOI:10.1901/jaba.1969.2-143
  36. Malow B.A., Adkins  K.W.,  McGrew  S.G.,  Wang  L.,  Goldman  S.E.  et  al.  Melatonin  for  sleep  in  children  with  autism: A controlled trial examining dose, tolerability, and outcomes. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 2012, vol. 42, no. 8, pp. 1729—1737. DOI:10.1007/s10803-011-1418-3
  37. Malow B.A., Findling R.L., Schroder C.M., Maras A., Breddy J. et al. Sleep, growth, and puberty after 2 years of prolonged-release melatonin in children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 2020, article no. S0890-8567(20)30034-4. Online publication ahead of print. DOI:10.1016/j. jaac.2019.12.007
  38. Malow B.A., Katz T., Reynolds A.M., Shui A., Carno M. et al. Sleep difficulties and medications in children with autism spectrum disorders: A registry study. Pediatrics, 2016, vol. 137, no. Supplement 2, pp. S98—S104. DOI:10.1542/peds.2015- 2851H
  39. Mazurek M.O., Petroski G.F. Sleep problems in children with autism spectrum disorder: Examining the contributions of sensory over-responsivity and anxiety. Sleep Medicine, 2015, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 270—279. DOI:10.1016/j.sleep.2014.11.006
  40. Miller L.J., Misher K. Sensory processing disorder and self-injurious behavior. In Edelson S.M., Johnson J.B. (eds.) Understanding and treating self-injurious behavior in autism. London: Publ. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2016. Pp. 138— 150. ISBN 978-1-84905741-7.
  41. Minshawi N.F., Hurwitz S., Fodstad J.C., Biebl S., Morriss D.H., McDougle C.J. The association between self-injurious behaviors and autism spectrum disorders. Psychology Research and Behavior Management, 2014, vol. 7, pp. 125—136. DOI:10.2147/PRBM.S44635
  42. Moskowitz L.J., Edelson S.M. Introduction. In Edelson S.M., Johnson J.B. (eds.) Understanding and treating self-injurious behavior in autism. London: Publ. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2016. Pp. 12—20. ISBN 978-1-84905741-7.
  43. Moskowitz L.J., Ritter A.B. Assessment and intervention for self-injurious behavior related to anxiety. In Edelson S.M., Johnson J.B. (eds.) Understanding and treating self-injurious behavior in autism. London: Publ. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2016. Pp. 198—230. ISBN 978-1-84905741-7.
  44. Moskowitz L.J., Rosen T., Lerner M.D., Levine  K.  Assessment of anxiety in youth with autism spectrum disorder. In  Kerns C., Storch E., Kendall P., Wood J.J., Renno P. (eds.) Evidence Based Assessment and Treatment of Anxiety in Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder. London: Publ. Academic Press, 2017. Pp. 79—104. ISBN 978-0-12805122-1.
  45. Moskowitz L.J., Walsh C.E., Mulder E., Magito McLaughlin D., Hajcak G., Carr E.G., Zarcone J.R. (2017). Intervention for anxiety and problem behavior in children with autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 2017, vol. 47, no. 12, pp. 3930—3948. DOI:10.1007/s10803-017-3070-z
  46. Neuhaus E., Bernier R.A., Tham S.W., Webb S.J. Gastrointestinal symptoms among children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 2018, vol. 9, p. 515. DOI:10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00515
  47. Reaven J. The treatment of anxiety symptoms in youth with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders: Developmental considerations for parents. Brain Research, 2011, vol. 1380, pp. 255—263. DOI:10.1016/j.brainres.2010.09.075
  48. Reis D.J., Ilardi S.S., Punt, S.E.W. The anxiolytic effect of probiotics: A systematic review and meta-analysis of the clinical and preclinical literature. PLoS ONE, 2018, vol. 13, no. 6, article no. e0199041. 25 p. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0199041
  49. Restrepo B., Angkustsiri K., Taylor S.L., Rogers S.J., Cabral J. et al. Developmental-behavioral profiles in children with autism spectrum disorder and co-occurring gastrointestinal symptoms. Autism Research. August 6, 2020. Early view before  publication. DOI:10.1002/aur.2354
  50. Rimland B. Tukey J.W. Infantile autism: The syndrome and its implications for a neural theory of behavior. Englewood Cliffs: Publ. Prentice-Hall, 1964. 282 p.
  51. Rimland B., Edelson S.M. Brief report: a pilot study of auditory integration training in autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 1995, vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 61—70. DOI:10.1007/BF02178168
  52. Rimland B., Edelson S.M. The effects of auditory integration training in autism. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 1994, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 16—24.
  53. Schwalfenberg G.K., Genuis S.J. The importance of magnesium in clinical healthcare. Scientifica, 2017, vol. 2017, pp. 1—14. DOI:10.1155/2017/4179326
  54. Shriver M.D., Anderson C.M., Proctor B. Evaluating the validity of functional behavior assessment. School Psychology Review, 2001, vol. 30, no. 2, pp. 180—192.
  55. Sivamaruthi B.S., Suganthy N., Kesika P., Chaiyasut C. The role of microbiome, dietary supplements, and probiotics in autism spectrum disorder. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2020, vol. 17, no. 8, article no.  2647. DOI:10.3390/ijerph17082647
  56. Smith S.A., Press B., Koenig K.P., Kinnealey M. Effects of sensory integration intervention on self-stimulating and self-injurious behaviors. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 2005, vol. 59, no. 4, pp. 418—425. DOI:10.5014/ ajot.59.4.418
  57. Soke G.N., Rosenberg S.A., Hamman R.F., Fingerlin T., Robinson C., Carprenter L. et al. Brief report: Prevalence of self- injurious behaviors among children with autism spectrum disorders -- A population-based study. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 2016, vol. 46, no. 11, pp. 3607—3614. DOI:10.1007/s10803-016-2879-1
  58. Sokhadze E.M., Casanova M.F., Tasman A., Brockett S. Electrophysiological and behavioral outcomes of Berard Auditory Integration Training (AIT) in children with autism spectrum disorder. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, 2016, vol. 41, no.4, pp. 405—420.  DOI:10.1007/s10484-016-9343-z
  59. St-Onge M.P, Mikic A., Pietrolungo C.E. Effects of diet on sleep quality. Advances in Nutrition, 2016, vol. 7, no. 5, pp. 938— 949.  DOI:10.3945/an.116.012336
  60. Su K.P., Tseng P.T., Lin P.Y., Okubo R., Chen T.Y., Chen Y.W., Matsuoka Y.J. Association of use of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids with changes in severity of anxiety symptoms. JAMA Network Open, 2018, vol. 1, no. 5, pp. 1—16. DOI:10.1001/ jamanetworkopen.2018.2327
  61. Summers J., Shahrami A., Cali S., D’Mello C., Kako M. et al. Self-injury in autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability: Exploring the role of reactivity to pain and sensory input. Brain Sciences, 2017, vol. 7, no. 11, p. 140. DOI:10.3390/ brainsci7110140
  62. Tudor M.E., Walsh C.E., Mulder E.C., Lerner M.D. Pain as a predictor of sleep problems in youth with autism spectrum disorders. Autism, 2014, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 292—300. DOI:10.1177/1362361313518994
  63. Tzischinsky O., Meiri G., Manelis L., Bar-Sinai A., Flusser H. et al. Sleep disturbances are associated with specific sensory sensitivities in children with autism. Molecular Autism, 2018, vol. 9, p. 22. DOI:10.1186/s13229-018-0206-8
  64. Vasa R.A., Carroll L.M., Nozzolillo A.A., Mahajan R., Mazurek M.O. et al. A systematic review of treatment for anxiety in youth with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 2014, vol. 44, no. 12, pp. 3215— 3229.  DOI:10.1007/s10803-014-2184-9
  65. Veatch O.J., Maxwell-Horn A.C., Malow B.A. Sleep in autism spectrum disorders. Current Sleep Medicine Reports, 2015, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 131—140. DOI:10.1007/s40675-015-0012-1
  66. Vollmer T.R. The concept of automatic reinforcement: Implications for behavioral research in developmental disabilities. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 1994, vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 187—207. DOI:10.1016/0891-4222(94)90011-6
  67. Wallis C. How to get children with autism to sleep [Web resource] / Scientific American. 2017, November 18. URL:   (Accessed   08.09.2020).
  68. White S.W., Oswald D., Ollendick T., Scahill L. Anxiety in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Clinical Psychology Review, 2009, vol. 29, no. 3, pp. 216—229. DOI:10.1016/j.cpr.2009.01.003
  69. Williams D. Autism: An inside-out approach: An innovative look at the ‘mechanics’ of ‘autism’ and its developmental ‘cousins.’ London: Publ. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 1996. 320 p. ISBN 978-1-85302387-3.
  70. Zaks Z. Life and Love: Positive strategies for autistic adults. Shawnee: Publ. Autism Asperger Publishing Co., 2006. 367 p. ISBN  978-1-93128293-2.
  71. Zeidán-Chuliá F., Gursoy U.K., Könönen E., & Gottfried C. (2010). A dental look at the autistic patient through orofacial pain. Acta Odontologica Scandinavica, 69(4), 193-200. doi:10.3109/00016357.2010.549505

© 2007–2021 Portal of Russian Psychological Publications. All rights reserved in Russian

Publisher: Moscow State University of Psychology and Education

Catalogue of academic journals in psychology & education MSUPE

Creative Commons License Open Access Repository     Webometrics Ranking of Repositories

RSS Psyjournals at facebook Psyjournals at Twitter Psyjournals at Youtube ??????.???????