Gazzaniga • Heatherton • Halpern
Psychological Science
Chapter 15
Treatment of Psychological
©2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
15.1 How Are Psychological
Disorders Treated?
• Distinguish between forms of psychotherapy.
• Describe the major categories of psychotropic
• Identify alternative biological treatments for
mental disorders.
• Distinguish between specialized mental health
How Are Psychological Disorders Treated?
• Psychological disorders need to be managed over
time through treatment
• Treatment depends on the type and severity of
symptoms as well as on the diagnosis
• Most mental disorders can be treated in more
than one way
• Psychologists use two basic categories of
techniques to treat mental disorders:
psychological and biological
Psychotherapy Is Based
on Psychological Principles
• Psychotherapy generally is aimed at changing
patterns of thought or of behavior
• It has been estimated that there are more than
400 approaches to treatment
• Many therapists follow an eclectic approach and
use a variety of techniques
• The relationship between the therapist and the
client is known to affect the outcome of therapy
Psychodynamic Therapy
Focuses on Insight
• Freud and Breuer pioneered the method of psychoanalysis
– Treatment involved uncovering unconscious feelings and drives
that gave rise to maladaptive thoughts and behaviors
– Techniques included free association and dream analysis
– General goal of psychoanalysis is to help clients gain insight into
their unconscious and how these processes affect daily
functioning, thus freeing them from these unconscious influences
• Contemporary therapists examine patients’ needs, defenses, and
motives as a way of understanding why they’re distressed
• Psychodynamic therapy has become increasingly controversial
(expensive, time consuming, scant evidence of effectiveness)
• Proponents argue that this short-term psychodynamic therapy can be
useful for treating certain disorders
Health Benefits of Talking
and Expressing Emotions
• Researchers have found positive health effects for people who
disclose emotional events
– College students who were randomly assigned to write about an
emotional event visited the university health center fewer times
than students assigned to write about other topics, even though
there were no group differences in how often the students visited
the health center before participating in the study (Pennebaker &
Beall, 1986).
• Talking or writing about emotionally charged events reduces
blood pressure, muscle tension, and skin conduction during the
disclosure and immediately thereafter
• Improves immune function, even in people with HIV
Humanistic Therapies
Focus on the Whole Person
• The goal of humanistic therapy is to treat the person as a whole,
not as a collection of behaviors or a repository of repressed
• Client-centered therapy encourages people to fulfill their
individual potentials for personal growth through greater selfunderstanding
– Therapists strive to create a safe and comforting setting for clients to access
their true feelings, to be empathic and to accept the client through
unconditional positive regard
– Therapist will use reflective listening, in which the therapist repeats the
client’s concerns to help the person clarify his or her feelings
• Motivational interviewing has proven to be a valuable treatment
for drug and alcohol abuse, as well as for increasing both healthy
eating habits and exercise (Burke, Arkowitz, & Menchola, 2003)
Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies
Target Thoughts and Behaviors
• Behavior therapy: Behavior is learned and therefore can be
unlearned through the use of classical and operant conditioning
– Social skills training: Client learns appropriate ways to act in
specific social situations
– Learn through modeling
• Cognitive therapy: Distorted thoughts produce maladaptive
behaviors and emotions; treatment strategies attempt to
modify these thought patterns
• Forms:
– Cognitive restructuring
– Rational-emotive therapy
– Mindfulness-based therapy
– Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
“Cognitive Behavioral Therapy”
While neuroscientists look for the cause of schizophrenia in the
brain, psychologists are looking for ways other than medication
to help people make sense of and deal with the voices they hear.
And as this ScienCentral News video reports, a therapy adopted
in Britain seems to have the answer.
Group Therapy Builds Social Support
• Group therapy rose in popularity after World War II
• There were many different stresses related to the war, with
more people needing therapy than there were therapists
available to treat them
• Advantages:
– Group therapy is often significantly less expensive than
individual treatment
– Group setting provides an opportunity for members to improve
their social skills and learn from one another’s experiences
• Many groups are organized around a particular type of problem
(e.g., sexual abuse) or around a particular type of client (e.g.,
adolescents). Therapy may be highly structured, or a more
loosely organized forum for discussion.
Family Therapy
Focuses on the Family Context
• According to a systems approach, an individual is part of a larger
context where changes in individual behavior will affect the
whole system
• Some therapists insist that family members be involved in
therapy, where all family members involved in therapy are
considered as the client
– Example: A child’s defiant behavior has led to conflict between
parents. Treatment involves not only working on the child’s
behavior, but also helping the parents learn to resolve their
• The level of expressed emotion from family members
corresponds to the relapse rate for patients with schizophrenia
(Hooley & Gotlib, 2000)
Culture Can Affect
the Therapeutic Process
• Culture has multiple influences on the way psychological disorders
are expressed, which people with psychological disorders are likely
to recover, and people’s willingness to seek help
– Many Chinese distrust emotional expression and avoid seeking
help for depression, anger, or grief (Magnier, 2008)
– In India, a corps of health counselors was trained to screen for
psychological disorders but because of the cultural stigma of
mental disorders, terms such as mental illness, depression, and
anxiety were avoided; terms such as tension and strain were used
instead (Kohn, 2008)
• Culture plays a critical role in determining the availability, use, and
effectiveness of different types of psychotherapy for various
cultural and ethnic groups living within any country
Medication Is Effective
for Certain Disorders
• Drugs that affect mental processes are called psychotropic
• Anti-anxiety drugs: used for the treatment of anxiety
– One class of anti-anxiety drugs is benzodiazepines
– Increase the activity of GABA
– Induce drowsiness and are highly addictive
• Antidepressants: used for the treatment of depression
– Monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors
– Tricyclics
– Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI)
• Antipsychotic/neuroleptics
Alternative Biological Treatments
Are Used in Extreme Cases
• Treatment-resistant people cannot be treated
successfully with psychotherapy, medication, or both
• Alternative treatments include: brain surgery, the use
of magnetic fields, and electrical stimulation
• Many early efforts reflected crude attempts to
control disruptive behavior:
– Trepanning
– Psychosurgery (prefrontal lobotomy)
Electroconvulsive Therapy
• Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT): a procedure that
involves administering a strong electrical current to the
patient’s brain to produce a seizure
• Effective for some cases of severe depression
• The procedure was developed in Europe in the 1930s and
tried on the first human in 1938; commonly used in the
1950s and 1960s to treat some psychological disorders
• The general public has a very negative view of ECT
• ECT now generally occurs under anesthesia, with
powerful muscle relaxants to eliminate motor
convulsions and confine the seizure to the brain
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
• During transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), a
powerful electrical current produces a magnetic field
(about 40,000 times Earth’s magnetic field)
• When rapidly switched on and off, this magnetic field
induces an electrical current in the brain region directly
below the coil, thereby interrupting neural function in
that region
– Single-pulse TMS: Disruption of brain activity occurs only during
the brief period of stimulation
– Repeated TMS: Multiple pulses of TMS occur over extended
• TMS may be useful for depression
Deep Brain Stimulation
• Deep brain stimulation (DBS): Electrodes are
surgically implanted deep within the brain; mild
electricity is then used to stimulate the brain at an
optimal frequency and intensity
• DBS has been tremendously successful in treating
Parkinson’s disease
• DBS is being tested for treating other disorders,
including mental disorders such as severe OCD and
Therapies Not Supported by
Scientific Evidence Can Be Dangerous
• Most psychologists recommend treatments that careful empirical
research has shown to be effective
• Unfortunately, many available therapies have no scientific basis,
including ones in which people re-enact their own births, scream, or
have their body parts manipulated
• Some treatments believed to be effective are counterproductive:
– Encouraging people to describe their experiences following major
– Scaring adolescents away from committing crimes
– Having police officers run drug education programs such as DARE
– Using hypnosis to recover painful memories
• These methods not only lack adequate evidence but also may produce
results opposite to those intended (Hines, 2003; Lilienfeld, 2007)
A Variety of Providers Can Assist in
Treatment for Psychological Disorders
• Providers range from those with limited training (e.g., former
addicts who provide peer counseling) to those with advanced
degrees in psychopathology
• Most therapeutic techniques used have emerged from
psychological laboratories
• Choosing the right therapist is difficult but extremely important for
ensuring successful treatment
• One of the central problems with treating psychological disorders
is that there simply are not enough people available to provide
traditional one-on-one psychotherapy to all who need it
• Technology-based treatments
“’Tongue Mouse’ Can Control a Wheelchair or Computer”
Imagine changing channels or surfing the Web with just a flick of
your tongue. Researchers have developed such a device. As this
ScienCentral News video shows, the system holds the most
promise for those who are paralyzed.
15.2 What Are the
Most Effective Treatments?
• Identify the treatments that are most effective for
specific psychological disorders.
What Are the
Most Effective Treatments?
• Certain types of treatments are particularly effective for specific
types of mental disorders
• Scientific studies of treatment indicate that although some mental
disorders are quite easily treated, others are not:
– Highly effective treatments exist for anxiety disorders, mood
disorders, and sexual dysfunction
– Few treatments for alcoholism are superior to the natural course
of recovery that many people undergo without psychological
• People often resolve personal problems on their own without
psychological treatment
• Because people tend to enter therapy when they experience crises,
they often show improvements no matter what therapy they
Effectiveness of Treatment Is
Determined by Empirical Evidence
• The only way to know whether a treatment is valid is to
conduct empirical research that compares the treatment with
a control condition
• Randomized clinical trials can establish whether a
particular treatment is effective
• Findings from medical studies often lead to dramatic
changes in treatment practice
• Such developments reflect the increasing importance of
evidence-based treatments
“Alzheimer’s Smell Test”
A simple scratch-and-sniff test could flag the first signs of
Alzheimer’s disease. As this ScienCentral News video reports,
the memory researcher who’s developing the test hopes to give
doctors a jump on curtailing the devastation.
Treatments That Focus on Behavior
and on Cognition Are Superior
for Anxiety Disorders
• Treatment approaches to anxiety disorders have had
mixed success:
– Psychoanalytic theory did not prove useful for treating anxiety
– Evidence suggests that cognitive-behavioral therapy works best
to treat most adult anxiety disorders (Hofmann & Smits, 2008)
– Anxiety-reducing drugs are also beneficial in some cases
• Drug effects may be limited to the period during which the
drug is taken, whereas the effects of cognitive-behavioral
therapy persist long after treatment
Specific Phobias
• Most phobias develop in the absence of any particular
precipitating event
• Learning theory cannot completely explain the development of
phobias; behavioral techniques are the treatment of choice
– One method used is systematic desensitization
– To expose clients without putting them in danger, practitioners
may use virtual environments
• Some cognitive strategies have also proven useful for the
treatment of phobia
– Brain-imaging data indicate that successful treatment with
cognitive-behavioral therapy alters the way the brain processes
the fear stimulus
• Pharmacological treatments for phobias sometimes include
tranquilizers, which can help people handle immediate fears
Panic Disorder
• Panic disorder has multiple components, and each
symptom may require a different treatment
• In the treatment of panic attacks, cognitive-behavioral
therapy appears to be as effective as or more effective
than medication (Schmidt & Keough, 2011)
• Methods for treating panic disorder include:
– Cognitive restructuring addresses ways of reacting to the symptoms
of a panic attack; helps clients recognize the irrationality of their fears
– Breaking the connection between the trigger symptom and the
resulting panic through exposure treatment
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
• Traditional anti-anxiety drugs are completely ineffective for OCD
• The drug of choice for OCD is clomipramine, a potent serotonin
reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)
• Cognitive-behavioral therapy is also effective for OCD
• The two most important components of behavioral therapy for
OCD are exposure and response prevention
• There is evidence that adding CBT to SSRI improves treatment
outcomes; many practitioners recommend the combination of
these treatments (Franklin & Foa, 2011)
• Deep brain stimulation (DBS) may be an effective treatment for
those with OCD who have not found relief from CBT or
Many Effective Treatments
Are Available for Depression
• Depression is one of the most widespread mental
disorders among adolescents and adults, and it has
become more common over the past few decades
• Scientific research has validated a number of effective
treatments, but there is no “best” way to treat
• Ongoing research is being done to determine which type
of therapy works best for which types of individuals
Pharmacological Treatment
• MAO inhibitors are effective but are generally reserved for
patients who do not respond to other antidepressants
• Tricyclics are extremely effective antidepressants, but they
have a number of unpleasant side effects
• SSRIs are prescribed most frequently because they have fewer
serious side effects than MAO inhibitors and tricyclics
• Physicians often must resort to a trial-and-error approach in
treating patients who are experiencing depression as no
single drug stands out as being most effective
Questions About
Pharmacological Treatment
• Antidepressants may help treat the symptoms of
depression without having any influence on the
underlying cause
• Placebo treatments appear to be associated with changes
in neurochemistry and do alleviate symptoms for some
• Only drug trials that involve individuals with severe
depression show clear benefits of drugs over placebos, in
part because people with severe depression show less
response to placebo treatments (Kirsch et al., 2008)
• Both drugs and placebos help people who are suffering
from depression
Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment
• Not all patients benefit from antidepressant
medications and some patients cannot or will not
tolerate the side effects
• Cognitive-behavioral therapy is just as effective as
antidepressants in treating depression (Hollon et al.,
• Cognitive-behavioral therapy can be effective on its
own, but combining it with antidepressant
medication can be more effective than either one of
these approaches alone (McCullough, 2000)
Alternative Treatments
• In patients with Seasonal Affective Disorder ((SAD)/winter blues),
episodes of depression are most likely to occur during winter, with
the rate of these disorders increasing with latitude
– Many of these patients respond favorably to phototherapy, which
involves exposure to a high-intensity light source for part of each day
• For some patients with depression, regular aerobic exercise can
reduce the symptoms and prevent recurrence
• Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a very effective treatment for
those who are severely depressed and do not respond to
conventional treatments
• Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) over the left frontal
region results in a significant reduction in depression
“Winter Mood”
The cold, dark days of winter are known to lower the spirits of
many people. Now scientists have a new therapy that can make
you feel like spring is in the air. This ScienCentral News video has
Deep Brain Stimulation
• DBS might be valuable for treating severe depression
when all other treatments have failed
• Several studies have been done of using DBS for
treatment-resistant depression, and each time at
least half of the clients benefited from this
treatment. Some of them felt relief as soon as the
switch was turned on
Gender Issues in Treating Depression
• Women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression as
• The APA published Guidelines for Psychological Practice with
Girls and Women (2007) to build awareness of gender-specific
• Men are reluctant to admit to depression and to seek
appropriate therapy
• This has been described as “a conspiracy of silence that has
long surrounded depression in men” (Brody, 1997)
• One goal is to help men stop masking their depression with
alcohol, isolation, and irritability
“Undoing Depression”
You can train dogs to bark or sit. But what about training mice
to grow new brain cells? A Nobel Prize-winning scientist has
done that, and he says it could lead to new ways to treat
depression in people.
Lithium Is Most Effective
for Bipolar Disorder
• Bipolar disorder is one of the few mental disorders for
which there is a clear optimal treatment: psychotropic
medications, especially the mood stabilizer lithium
• Lithium seems to modulate neurotransmitter levels,
balancing excitatory and inhibitory activities (Jope, 1999)
• Lithium has unpleasant side effects including thirst, hand
tremors, excessive urination, and memory problems
• Lithium works better on mania than on depression;
patients often are treated with both lithium and an
• Patient compliance with drug therapy can be a problem
Pharmacological Treatments
Are Superior for Schizophrenia
• Historically, psychotic patients were often
institutionalized in large mental hospitals
• Brain surgery, such as prefrontal lobotomy, was
considered a viable option for patients with severe
mental disorders but was ineffective in treating people
with schizophrenia
• The introduction of psychotropic medications in the
1950s eliminated the use of lobotomy
Pharmacological Treatments
• Chlorpromazine and haloperidol revolutionized the
treatment of schizophrenia and became the most
frequently used treatments for this disorder
– Chlorpromazine: acts as a major tranquilizer, reduces anxiety,
sedates without inducing sleep, decreases the severity and
frequency of the positive symptoms
– Haloperidol: is chemically different and has less of a sedating effect
than chlorpromazine
– These have little or no impact on the negative symptoms of
schizophrenia and have significant side effects
• Second-generation antipsychotics such as Clozapine,
Risperdol, and Zyprexa are more effective and also have
fewer side effects
Psychosocial Treatments
• Medication effectively reduces delusions and
hallucinations but does not substantially improve patients’
social functioning
• Social skills training is an effective way to address some
deficits in patients
• When self-care skills are deficient, behavioral interventions
can focus on areas such as grooming and bathing,
management of medications, and financial planning
• Initial studies using CBT for schizophrenia indicate that it is
more effective than other psychological treatments in
reducing symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations
Prognosis In Schizophrenia
• It is in the best interest of patients with schizophrenia to
treat the disorder early and aggressively
• Most patients with schizophrenia improve over time.
– One long-term study that followed participants for an average
of 32 years showed that between half and two-thirds were
recovered or had experienced considerable improvement in
functioning on follow-up (Harding, Zubin, & Strauss, 1987)
• The prognosis depends on factors that include age of
onset, gender, and culture
15.3 Can Personality Disorders
Be Treated?
• Discuss therapeutic approaches for borderline
personality disorder and antisocial personality
Can Personality Disorders
Be Treated?
• Little is known about how best to treat
personality disorders as very few large, wellcontrolled studies have been undertaken
• Most therapists agree that personality disorders
are notoriously difficult to treat
• Patients see the environment rather than their
own behavior as the cause of their problems,
which makes them very difficult to engage in
Dialectical Behavior Therapy Is Most Successful
for Borderline Personality Disorder
• Marsha Linehan’s dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is the
most successful in treating persons with borderline personality
• Combines elements of behavioral and cognitive treatments
with a mindfulness approach based on Eastern meditative
practices and proceeds in three stages:
– First, the patient’s most extreme and dysfunctional behaviors are
targeted with a focus on replacing them with more appropriate
– Second, the therapist helps the patient explore past traumatic
experiences that may be at the root of emotional problems
– Third, the therapist helps the patient develop self-respect and
independent problem solving
Antisocial Personality Disorder
Is Extremely Difficult to Treat
• Treating those with antisocial personality disorder often
seems impossible
• Patients lie without thinking twice about it, care little for
other people’s feelings, and live for the present without
consideration of the future
• Patients are often more interested in manipulating
therapists than in changing their own behavior, which
means therapists must be constantly on guard
Therapeutic Approaches for
Antisocial Personality Disorder
• Psychotropic medications have not been effective in
treating this disorder
• Traditional psychotherapeutic approaches are of little
use, whereas behavioral and cognitive approaches have
had somewhat more success
• Therapy for this disorder is most effective in a residential
treatment center or a correctional facility
Prognosis for
Antisocial Personality Disorder
• The prognosis that patients with antisocial personality
disorder will change their behaviors as a result of therapy
is poor, particularly for patients with psychopathic traits
• Fortunately for society, individuals with antisocial
personality disorder but without psychopathy typically
improve after age 40
• Conduct disorder is a childhood condition known to be a
precursor to antisocial personality disorder
• Time and effort may be better spent in prevention than
in treatment
15.4 How Should Childhood Disorders and
Adolescent Disorders Be Treated?
• Discuss the current controversy regarding the use
of drugs to treat depression among adolescents
• Identify drugs and behavioral treatments for
• Describe applied behavioral analysis
• Discuss the use of oxytocin in the treatment of
How Should Childhood Disorders
and Adolescent Disorders Be Treated?
• In the United States, an estimated 12 percent to 20
percent of children and adolescents suffer from mental
• Problems not addressed during childhood or adolescence
may persist into adulthood
• Children and adolescents are more malleable than adults
and more amenable to treatment
• Childhood and adolescent disorders should be the focus
of research into etiology, prevention, and treatment
The Use of Medication
to Treat Adolescent Depression
Is Controversial
• Approximately 8 percent of the U.S. population, ages
12 to 17, reported experiencing within the last year a
major depressive episode that met DSM criteria
(SAMHSA, 2011)
• About one-third of adolescents with psychological
disorders receive any form of treatment; the
percentage is even lower for adolescents from racial
and ethnic minorities
• SSRIs are effective, but increase the risk of suicidal
thinking and suicidal behavior in children and
• Treatment for Adolescents with Depression Study (TADS,
2004) provided clear evidence that the SSRI Prozac is
effective in treating adolescent depression
• The group receiving Prozac and CBT did best (71 percent
• Participants in the Prozac group were twice as likely to
have serious suicidal thoughts or intentions compared
with those undergoing other treatments
• Overall, suicide attempts were quite uncommon (7 of
439 patients)
Further Thoughts
On Treatment Approaches
• The main question is: Do the millions of children who take
antidepressants experience more benefits than risks?
• Suicide rates have dropped since the use of SSRIs became
• Not providing SSRIs to adolescents may raise the suicide
rate (Brent, 2004)
• CBT is most effective but expensive and time-consuming
• Prescribing drugs without CBT might be cost-effective
(Domino et al., 2008), but it may not be in the best
interests of adolescents with depression
Children With ADHD
Can Benefit from Various Approaches
• There is some dispute about whether attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder is a mental disorder
• Some people diagnosed with ADHD as children grow out
of it
• Many suffer from the disorder throughout adolescence
and are more likely to drop out of school; to reach a
lower socioeconomic level than expected; show
continued patterns of inattention, of impulsivity, and of
hyperactivity; and they are at increased risk for other
psychiatric disorders (Wilens, Faraone, & Biederman,
• Effective treatment early in life may be of great
Pharmacological Treatment of ADHD
• The most common treatment for ADHD is a central nervous
system stimulant, such as methylphenidate (Ritalin)
– Functional brain imaging shows that children with ADHD have
underactive brains; their hyperactivity may raise their arousal levels
– Studies have shown that children taking Ritalin are happier, more
adept socially, and somewhat more successful academically,
although the effects on academic performance are modest
– The medication has its drawbacks: Side effects include sleep
problems, reduced appetite, body twitches, and the temporary
suppression of growth
• Most therapists believe medication should be supplemented
by psychological therapies, such as behavior modification
Behavioral Treatment of ADHD
• Behavioral treatment of ADHD aims to reinforce positive
behaviors and ignore or punish problem behaviors
• A recent meta-analysis of 174 studies consisting of over
2,000 research participants found clear support for the
effectiveness of behavioral therapy for ADHD (Fabiano et
al., 2009)
• Many therapists advocate combining behavioral
approaches with medication
• Studies show that medications may be important in the
short term, but psychological treatments may produce
superior outcomes that last
Children With Autism Benefit from
Structured Behavioral Treatment
• Core symptoms of autism—impaired communication,
restricted interests, and deficits in social interaction—
make these children particularly difficult to work with
• Normal children respond positively to social praise and
small prizes, but children with autism often are
oblivious to these rewards; food is sometimes the only
effective reinforcement in the initial stages of treatment
• Structured therapies are more effective for these
children than are unstructured interventions, such as
play therapy
Behavioral Treatment For Autism
• One of the best-known and perhaps most effective
treatments for children with autism is applied behavioral
analysis (ABA)
• ABA is based on principles of operant conditioning:
– This very intensive approach requires a minimum of 40 hours of
treatment per week
– Initiating treatment at a younger age yielded better results, as
does involving parents
– Research example: Instruction in symbolic play also leads to
increased language use, greater parent/child play, and greater
creativity in play
Biological Treatment For Autism
• SSRIs are not helpful for treating the symptoms of autism
and actually may increase agitation (McPheeters et al.,
• Antipsychotics, such as Risperdal, appear to reduce
repetitive behaviors associated with self-stimulation but
have side effects (e.g., weight gain)
• A deficit in oxytocin may be related to some of the
behavioral manifestations of autism; studies show that it
may improve functioning in people with autism
Prognosis For Children With Autism
• The long-term prognosis for people with autism is
• Early diagnosis clearly allows for more effective
treatments (National Research Council, 2001)
• A higher IQ may mean a better ability to
generalize learning and therefore a better overall
• Severe cases are less likely to improve with
A Case Study of Childhood Autism
• John O’Neil, a deputy editor at the New York Times, described
what it is like to be the parent of a child with autism (O’Neil, 2004)
– Many children who will develop autism show abnormal social behavior
in infancy
– Most diagnoses of autism are made by age 3, but the disorder can be
detected earlier if parents or pediatricians know what to look for
– Signs include staring at objects for long periods, not reaching
developmental milestones, withdrawal from social contact, stopping
babbling, self-abuse
– The earlier diagnosis and treatment begins, the better the prognosis
• Luckily for O’Neil’s son James, preschool staff recommended a
professional evaluation because of his unusual behavior and he
received treatment
“Autism and Virtual Pals”
Kids with autism have trouble listening and responding, but they
may get some help from a virtual friend. As this ScienCentral
News video explains, technology could help isolated kids make
connections in the real world.

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