7 Types of ASD Therapy for Children

ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) affects as many as 1 in every 44 children across the US. However, it’s reassuring for parents to understand that health experts have improved the diagnosis and treatment choices for those with ASD.

In other words, there is more than one option open to parents looking into a suitable ASD treatment.

Here, we’ll outline and compare seven different types of ASD therapy and coping methods to consider as part of your child’s future treatment plan.

1. DIR Floortime Therapy

Floortime therapy is a play treatment for children on the autism spectrum. As the name suggests, this involves a therapist (or a parent) sitting on the floor with the child and interacting using play.

The therapist will typically follow the child’s lead and sometimes interact using toys. The therapist might work on communication during the session or on the child’s emotional development, outlined further on this page.

2. Integrated Playgroups

Also known as the IPG model, integrated playgroups support a child’s social development in a safe environment.

These are group sessions, bringing together children with and without ASD to play and interact. A therapist will often start the play session by guiding the children and gradually allowing the children to take over the direction of play.


JASPER stands for Joint Attention Symbolic Play Engagement and Regulation. It’s another popular play-focused therapy and supports social interaction and play-based skills for children.

A therapist concentrates on developing social communication with the children, including non-verbal communication such as eye contact.

4. Speech Therapy

Speech therapy is a dedicated support session to help an ASD children with their verbal communication.

Typically, the speech therapist will assess a child and use that assessment to plan an extended therapy program. It might include working on mouth and jaw muscles and practicing speech sounds.

5. ABA

ABA is short for Applied Behavior Analysis. An ABA therapist will create an individualized development program for each child to support a range of social, communication, functional, and behavioral skills.

The sessions often occur in an environment already familiar to the child, such as home or school.

6. CBT

CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is used widely in mental health. It is a standard treatment for children with ASD too.

CBT is helpful for high-functioning ASD. Therapists will work with the child to talk through potential issues and find strategies that will give the child support in everyday life (e.g., social interactions at school).

7. Nutritional Therapy

Many children with ASD will demonstrate self-imposed restrictions with what they will eat.

Nutritional therapy involves working with a qualified nutritionist or dietician to develop a strategy to improve the child’s nutrition while working with the child’s need for safe and familiar food choices.

ASD Therapy Choices

An ASD diagnosis can feel like the start of a long journey for some parents. But there is help available. With such a wide range of excellent treatments, you have the opportunity to provide your child with the ASD therapy they need.

For more information on how to support your child’s development, head to our education section.