Can autism be cured?

Samir Kadri
Author: Samir Kadri Medical Reviewer: Morgan Blair Last updated:

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by persistent deficits in social communication and relationship forming. [1]

ASD typically begins before the age of three and, while symptoms can improve over time, it is a lifelong disability. [2] Diagnosis usually occurs during this time, but in rare cases can occur later in life, namely when symptoms are understated.

There is no cure for autism. Recommended treatments and therapies focus on managing the condition, supporting the individual affected, and prioritizing their needs in society.

Indeed, many reject the notion that autism is a disease requiring a cure, rather viewing it as an alternate way of understanding information and external stimuli. They believe this change in perspective can result in the needs of affected children and their parents being met more effectively. [3]

There are several steps you can take to treat symptoms of autism.

How is ASD treated?


Frontline treatments for autism include an array of therapies such as behavioral analysis, speech therapy, and sensory integration therapy. [4]

Research shows that the primary way of improving the core antisocial behavioral tendencies associated with ASD is early intensive behavioral therapy. [4] Tailored, one-to-one sessions provide distraction-free, controlled environments for children with ASD to learn how to manage their symptoms. [4]

Requiring a team of licensed professionals – such as child psychiatrists, occupational and behavioral therapist, speech therapists, psychologists, specialist teachers, social workers and pediatricians – intensive behavioral therapy initiated before the age of 4 can lead to an improvement in cognitive, social, and communicative function while reducing antisocial behaviors. [4]

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy is commonly used to treat children with autism. However, although it has sometimes been praised of its effectiveness in managing symptoms, it has attracted controversy as a treatment, with some claiming its techniques of using punishment to discourage certain behaviors can be abusive and traumatic for the children involved.


Children with ASD may respond well to a structured, tailored educational program. These are typically comprised of a team of specialists and an array of activities focused on improving social skills, communication, and learning abilities in autistic children.

A structured approach to education before the age of 4 can lead to positive outcomes for children with ASD. [4]


No medication can stop someone presenting signs of ASD, but medications can help people manage their symptoms.

There are medications that are used to temper hyperactivity and some antipsychotic drugs can be prescribed to regulate certain behavioral problems. Antidepressants may be prescribed to treat comorbid mental health conditions that are ailing someone with ASD.

Do not take any medications without being directed to do so by your doctor. Do not allow your child to either. Take all medications or supplements exactly as directed by your doctor.

Final thoughts

The World Health Organization states that we all have the right to the highest attainable standard of health. There must be a society-wide enhancement in education, support, and healthcare surrounding ASD so that affected individuals receive the treatment they require.

  1. Diagnostic Criteria | Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) | NCBDDD | CDC. (2022b, November 2). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  2. Basics About Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) | NCBDDD | CDC. (2022, December 9). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  3. [Autism spectrum disorders: the word is not a disease]. (2010). PubMed.
  4. Shenoy, M. D., Indla, V., & Reddy, H. (2017). Comprehensive Management of Autism: Current Evidence. Indian journal of psychological medicine, 39(6), 727–731.
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Samir Kadri
Author Samir Kadri Writer

Samir Kadri is a medical writer with a non-profit sector background, committed to raising awareness about mental health.

Published: Jun 15th 2023, Last edited: Oct 24th 2023

Morgan Blair
Medical Reviewer Morgan Blair MA, LPCC

Morgan Blair is a licensed therapist, writer and medical reviewer, holding a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling from Northwestern University.

Content reviewed by a medical professional. Last reviewed: Jun 15th 2023