When your child receives an autism diagnosis, it can be overwhelming. Questions swirl around in your mind, and you try to brace yourself for a life change you weren’t expecting.
“What does this mean for their future?”
“Can they have a ‘normal’ life?”
“How can I help them succeed?”
“What do I do now?”
Not long into your Google search, you’re bombarded with differing information and opinions about autism, autism treatments, and views about what you should do to ensure your child lives a happy and fulfilling life with autism.
First of all, you realize you are not alone. There are millions of children diagnosed with autism every year and parents just like you scouring the internet looking for the answers to the very same questions.
One of the first hurdles to clear is finding the right autism therapy for your child. With several options out there, it can be tough to discern which one is the right fit for your child. You undoubtedly came across plenty of information about Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy. As the most researched and proven therapy for children with autism, it’s one of the top choices among parents of children with autism.
What is ABA Therapy?
ABA therapy has been used for over 50 years to help children with autism overcome the behavioral, communicative, and social obstacles that come with an autism diagnosis. This well-researched autism treatment reduces unwanted behaviors and increases positive behaviors through highly-structured interactive play and positive reinforcement.
One of the greatest things about ABA therapy is that your child’s individual needs and struggles are met through their own personalized autism treatment program. Because every child is wonderfully unique, not all ABA treatment programs are going to look the same.
While each child’s treatment program may differ, they all address the areas of most concern when considering children with autism. ABA therapy helps your child with:
- Social Skills
- Daily Living Skills
Through ABA therapy, your child engages with their Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). They compassionately and patiently address your child’s individual skills and behaviors they need to work on. By breaking down each skill into several small steps, they learn to master each one.
As your child progresses through their ABA treatment program, they receive plenty of positive reinforcement, such as verbal praise or another highly-motivating tool.
ABA therapy can also be used in multiple environments like at home, school, or social situations. When your child is ready to practice their newly-learned skills, your child’s BCBA will be by their side. With that said, parent involvement in your child’s ABA therapy success is crucial. Most ABA therapy programs include teaching and guiding parents and caregivers to ensure your child’s success.
Other Types of Autism Therapy
Speech Therapy, RDI and CBT
Speech Therapy: If your child gets speech therapy, they will be working with a speech pathologist to help them overcome any communication-related issues. Speech therapists help with word articulation, sentences, and listening skills. Sometimes speech therapy is done individually, and sometimes it’s done in groups, where they can practice their communication skills.
Development Intervention (RDI): RDI focuses on establishing emotional and social objectives, with the goal being to create and maintain meaningful relationships. Many children with autism struggle with forming emotional bonds with others, so RDI consultants help children improve their interpersonal skills.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): While CBT has been around since the 60s, it’s typically used as an autism treatment for children with milder symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Through CBT, children with autism learn to recognize things that trigger specific behaviors and given practical responses to replace them.
Occupational, Sensory Integration and Social Skills Therapy
Occupational Therapy: In occupational therapy, children with autism are taught how to become more independent in their daily living. Occupational therapists (OTs) help children with autism learn how to feed themselves, get dressed, or refine their motor skills.
Sensory Integration Therapy: This type of autism therapy is more specific in its aim. Sensory integration therapy focuses on helping children overcome their difficulty processing sounds, lights, noises, textures, and other sensory issues. Many children with autism have sensory issues, which cause anxiety. This often leads to unwanted negative behaviors. Through sensory integration therapy, children with autism learn how to respond to these things more positively.
Social Skills Therapy: Much like sensory integration therapy, social skills therapy mainly focuses on one area of struggle: social skills. Often, children with autism have a tough time figuring out the unspoken rules of social interactions, so they need more instruction. Through social skills therapy, children interact with other children in a social setting. They are given modeling examples and feedback to help them understand how to better interact with others.
Why ABA is the Gold Standard of Autism Therapy?
There’s a reason why ABA therapy is the most researched autism treatment: it works. With ABA therapy, you don’t get the same program that applies to every other child with autism. You get a highly-customized autism therapy program that easily adapts as your child grows and overcomes each of their obstacles.
ABA can be practiced anywhere, with any caregiver, in any situation. The skills your child learns from their highly-trained BCBA extend far beyond their sessions. Your child’s home life, school life, and social life are positively impacted through ABA therapy.
Another excellent thing about choosing ABA therapy is that it is the most intensive of the autism therapy options. Unlike other therapy types, ABA therapy groups are authorized to treat children with autism many more hours per week. Some autism therapy options can only be offered for 30 minutes to one hour per week. Because ABA therapy is more intensive, you see greater results and faster progress.
What to Expect from ABA Therapy at ATG
Here at The Autism Therapy Group, we start with an intake assessment. That’s where you and your child will meet with their assigned BCBA. After speaking with you about your concerns and observing your child’s struggles, your child’s BCBA will work together with their support staff to develop the perfect customized treatment program.
We will meet with you regularly to discuss your child’s development and adjust their treatment plans as they learn and grow. Our priority here at ATG is to help you and your child live a happy, successful, and fulfilling life through highly individualized, proven successful ABA therapy.
Find Out if ABA Therapy is Right For Your Child
We are eager to talk to you and meet you and your child! Even though know there are many options when it comes to autism treatment, and we’d love to show you around our new center in Lombard or talk to you about our in-home autism therapy option. Contact us and we’ll help you figure out if ABA is right for you and how you can start your child on the road to success as soon as possible.