Worldwide 1 in 160 children are with autism, but there is no one standard treatment route. So, where do you start once your child gets diagnosed with autism?
Autism is also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD. Often children with autism have difficulties getting diagnosed, as autism can be mistaken as attention-deficit disorder (ADHD) and other diagnoses.
So, it is a relief to get the evaluation results, as you can start looking into autism services. However, there are different autism therapy options out there, which can make it overwhelming. Read on to learn everything you need to know about autism services to help you get your child the proper support.
What Are Autism Services?
Autism services are the umbrella term to describe your child’s different autism support options. It can include everything from the autism evaluation to therapy work. Autism services tend to cover:
- Social skills work
- Sensory integration support
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy
Autism services can be in the form of one-to-one work and community work. They can occur in different settings, such as specialized play centers, at your own home, or other medical settings. Spaces can vary in suitability for your child, so take time to research options available to them.
Autism Therapy Options
There are several different autism therapy options available. Every child with autism has unique strengths and areas they struggle with. Sometimes children try more than one therapeutic approach to find what works best for them.
ABA therapy stands for Applied Behaviour Analysis. It is an evidence-based practice treatment that aims to improve learning, communication, and social skills through reinforcement.
It encourages children to engage with positive behaviors for their learning and wellbeing. It works on reducing behaviors that could be harmful or interfere with learning.
ABA therapy can take place in different settings and uses other techniques. These techniques include:
- Pivotal response treatment
- Discrete trial training
- Early intensive behavioral intervention
- Early Start Denver Model
- Symbolic play and other naturalistic developmental interventions
ABA has different principles that autism services may incorporate in different ways. For example, some autism services aim to create a naturalistic environment for children with autism. So, while there are behavioral reinforcement principles, they are natural ones.
An example of how ABA works is discrete trial training. The therapist uses a prompt one-to-one with the child and asks for a behavior. If the child does the behavior, they receive positive reinforcement.
However, ABA therapy can also use different modes of communication, such as Picture Exchange Communication Systems. Children with autism can learn vocabulary skills, language, and communication.
Occupational therapy work for children with autism focuses on daily life skills. The autism therapist can focus on helping a child learn how to improve self-care, sensory issues, eating, and motor skills. They can also teach children how to brush their teeth and complete other daily tasks many people take for granted.
Some children with autism get prescribed medication to manage aggression and other problematic behavior. However, these medications often have side effects, and they still need to be used with other autism therapy options. Be sure to consult a medical professional regarding medication.
Autism services can also provide autism therapy through assistive technology. Children with autism may benefit from communication boards, tablets, and other adaptive technology to communicate well. Children with autism can also use tablets to help with communication and speech.
Other Autism Therapy Options
There are a variety of autism therapy options. Some do have overlap. For example, there is functional communication training, which also uses pictures, languages, and signs. It also uses positive reinforcement.
There are also approaches such as the Verbal Behavior Approach that was inspired by ABA. Parents can also receive autism therapy options to help them manage disruptive behaviors.
Older children may also engage with different autism therapies, such as specific youth programs or other psychological interventions. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is sometimes used too.
Importance of Early Intervention
While many different autism therapy options are available, timing is also crucial. Autism services promote early intervention for a good reason. Early intervention refers to taking action once
While finding the right autism services for your child can take time, do not resist seeking treatment. Early intervention can increase the effectiveness of autism therapy for your child. Their brains are more adaptable to absorb the benefits of autism therapy with more ease.
How to Decide on Autism Therapy
You may have recommendations from autism services as to what is a suitable autism therapy for your child. However, take the time to do your own research and learn more about your different options.
For example, there are many benefits of ABA therapy. Some benefits include:
- Decreases problem behaviors
- Improves focus and attention
- Develops communication and language skills
Look out for autism services that use ABA therapy, either with other treatments or as their prime focus. Every service will work slightly differently, so also consider:
Do you want your child to be in a medical setting, at home, or in another natural environment? Does your child need home support initially? These are questions autism services can also help answer. But also trust your parental instinct and research reviews for places that appeal to you.
You can also show your child and figure out the best setting for them. You also want to make sure the autism services you pick use reputable staff with the proper licenses and experience.
Dream Big Children’s Center Autism Services
Autism services continue to develop as more research is published about treatment options for children with autism. Here at Dream Big, we use evidence-based research focusing on inclusivity and early intervention.
Our services include play and child-focused centers, home services, and ABA therapy. We believe all children can grow and thrive in the right environment. And our environments are expanding, as we now have center numbers growing in Southern California.
Contact us today to learn more about what we do and how we can support your child.