Though speech, occupational and physical therapies can ease the isolation of autistic children, they are time-consuming. "Every two hours throughout the day, between 8 and 6:30, someone else comes in the room," Michele says about the in-home care her son, Danson, gets. "I spend about four hours a day in the room."
The hard work sometimes pays off…in a big way. Michele says her son recently spoke to her by spelling out words on a letter board. "The first thing he said to me was m-o-m, s-o-r-y," she says. "He went on to say his best friend is Mom. He went on to say for his birthday he wants jeans and an iPod."
It's important to note that what works for some autistic children may not work for all of them.
Dr. Batra says early intervention and therapy have also helped her autistic sons make great progress and achieve higher function. Her youngest son is now "mainstreamed."