What before was a heartbreaking situation parents and children alike would face, sometimes alone, has now become a growing community of hope and a lesson in the awareness of our differences. Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (asd), embodies various conditions related to communication, behavior, and social skill struggles that affect 1 in 44 children in the United States. However, what used to be a confusing journey for families to travel has now become more focused and successful through the help of early intervention for autism. With advanced testing that can start at a very young age, parents are finding that there is hope for children with autism to live as normal lives as those who don’t have autism.
What is an early intervention for autism?
When a parent notices unusual behavior in their child or maybe some delays in social and/or behavioral development, questions may arise on whether they are signs of autism. After an official diagnosis of ASD, the question remains of what the next step will be to help a child get the proper care they need.
Early interventions for autism seek to create better strategies that assist in growing and developing the cognitive and behavioral challenges that children with autism experience. The hope is that as a child practices these new ways of growing their skills and communication, they will be better adapted for life with these skills.
Early intervention for autism is not just one therapy for everyone, as every child is different, but is usually several therapies brought together to address the various struggles a child endures. Sometimes the therapy, or therapies, can be handled by one medical professional or several at a time, all with the goal of helping a child grow and develop as normal as possible.
Types of therapies and interventions for autism
There are several types of therapies and interventions available that cater to the challenges a child with autism faces on a daily basis. Remember that not every child is the same, so meeting and strategizing with a qualified medical professional is the best approach to take before beginning anything.
Developmental interventions are focused on developing the necessary skills in a child that are needed for daily life and for establishing healthy relationships with others.
Some types of therapies involve the use of facial expressions and gestures to help a child understand people’s emotions and how people can display them. Other therapies might be where the child leads the therapy, doing activities and then the therapist responds back to them to build a bond.
This bond between therapist and child becomes the gateway for children to develop more effectively the skills they need for daily life.
Behavioral interventions concentrate on the outward behavior of a child with ADS, one of the more commonly used interventions in autism therapy. Repetitive behaviors such as banging one’s head against something or washing one’s hands repeatedly are what are helped best by behavioral interventions.
These interventions work to understand the need for the child’s behavior and how to teach them healthier behaviors and ways to cope. Applied behavioral analysis (ABA) is one recognized behavioral intervention that is used to study how environmental factors can contribute to development. The goal is to teach and reinforce new skills to children while discouraging concerning behaviors, such as harmful, repetitive behaviors.
While behavioral and developmental interventions may be handled inside a therapist’s office or play area, educational interventions occur within a classroom setting. One such program with this type of intervention is Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication-Handicapped Children (TEACCH).
Using research that shows children with autism improve with consistency and visual learning, TEACCH introduces a classroom atmosphere to them with following schedules that are written down and in view, having learning stations, and combining visual directions with physical and/or visual demonstrations of the directions.
These therapies are just a few of several programs that cater to what a child needs for behavioral and/or cognitive assistance in developing their skills for life and relationships.
Benefits of early intervention for autism
The earlier the better in receiving a diagnosis for autism, as getting your child into a program right away, while they are still learning skills, helps in greatly improving their skills developing in time.
When your child is diagnosed, a diagnostic report is made available to you showing what are the strengths and weaknesses of development in your child. This report can act as your guide to lead you to the right therapy strategy for your child so you can get started right away on what will help everyone the most.
There are also family therapy programs where the entire family can take part in the therapy, forming strong relationships among family members with their child on the spectrum and bringing more awareness to what everyday life is like for their child.
Get help with early intervention for autism
There is help and hope as you and your family come to terms with your child having autism. The increased awareness of the autism spectrum disorder, and vast amount of autism diagnoses over the years, have shown there is a community of help waiting to assist you. There are a variety of therapies available to help children reach their fullest potential and grow with their autism instead of despite it. Contact us today to learn more about our resources for early intervention for autism and how you can get help now.