What is a Caregiver?
Autism is an incredibly common condition - according to the Centers for Disease Control, about 1 in 54
children in the US will be diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) each year.
While not everyone with autism experiences a reduction in quality of life (in fact, it's important to note many don't want it to it being labeled a "disorder" at all), many do. For these folks, various types of intervention strategies are available. These include behavioral, pharmacological, developmental, educational, social-relational, and psychological
approaches. Read on to learn more about each strategy and how each can improve the lives of those with autism.
Top 6 Autism Intervention Strategies
First, behavioral approaches have the most empirical support of any technique on this list. Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA, is the most common method. By reducing negative behaviors, and reinforcing positive ones, ABA helps those with autism better integrate into social situations, as well as transfer those learned skills from one occasion to the next. It builds on structured techniques and an ongoing evaluation of progress, with the implementation of necessary changes to the modality as sessions continue. ABA is most effective when it's applied by a trained professional at least 20 hours a week before the age of 4.
Developmental interventions work in conjunction with behavioral approaches to help those with autism adapt to social situations. For example, one common symptom of SD is difficulty recognizing non-verbal social cues. So, in a development approach, a therapist may work with the individual by pointing out specific facial expressions and exaggerating them so the patient can notice them when they occur in "real-life." The same applies to things like tone of voice or body language. All this is known as speech therapy. Speech therapy can help those with autism not only understand others better but also how to make themselves more understood.
Social-relational approaches are a subset of developmental techniques that boost social skills by building relationships. One prominent type is called relationship development intervention (RDI), which focuses on "dynamic
intelligence." Cultivating dynamic intelligence helps those with autism combine information from multiple sources, reference other people's emotions, and think more flexibly. Naturally, understanding the wants and needs of others is one basis of clear communication.
There are no medications that can treat the core symptoms of autism - those with autism simply have different brains, a different way of seeing the world, a different foundation from which to work. However, medications can help reduce some of the negative secondary effects that some on the spectrum
may experience. Risperidone (Risperdal), for instance, is FDA-approved to reduce irritability in children between the ages of 5 and 16.
Anti-depressants and anxiolytics can help with depression and anxiety, while stimulants such as Adderall can improve the ability to focus. However, medication combined with therapy is more effective than medication alone.
Educational intervention is just what it sounds like - classroom-based learning about autism. It's always helpful for people to understand themselves, especially if they're looking to reduce certain types of behaviors (as is often the case in those with ASD). One program, known as the Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication-Handicapped Children (TEACCH) method, is specifically geared towards those with autism. Teachers use visual learning techniques to ensure students learn as much as possible.
Unfortunately, autism often comes with one or more psychological conditions like anxiety or depression. One study showed 20.1 % of adults with ASD experienced an anxiety disorder, while a large meta-analysis showed those with autism are four times as likely as neurotypical people to suffer from depression Psychological interventions such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help alleviate these issues. Therapy can also help someone on the spectrum cope with the negative feelings resulting from their experiences, for instance, difficulty understanding or being understood by others.
Our Approach To ABA Therapy
Our treatment programs are characterized by close, ongoing collaboration between a team of professionals and staff. All interventions are driven by the collection of empirical data that measures your child’s responses to treatment.
The data is evaluated by a qualified professional such as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst that is assigned to supervise regularly to ensure our process is effective and your child is steadily progressing.
Fortunately, there are many interventions available that can improve the quality of life of people with autism. Difficulties can be overcome and those on the spectrum can adapt to function well without giving up who they are. ABA therapy is often the foundation for making this happen. That's because behavior is often the main issue when it comes to those with autism integrating successfully and leading the kinds of lives they want to lead. Accel Therapies is proud to specialize in ABA therapy. This evidence-based autism program for kids in Frisco can help lay the cornerstone for a full, goal-oriented life. For more information, contact us today!
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