Autism is a neurobiological disorder that affects a person’s capacity to speak, learn, and interact with the world around him or her. Repetitive behavior and excessive routines such as obsession with a specific object and unnecessary movements are characteristics of people diagnosed with this disorder.
While medications and treatment are also helpful in addressing symptoms of Autism, interactive therapies and play-based approaches are also beneficial. Here are some of the best counseling and therapy types that your doctor may integrate with managing your child with Autism.
An allied medical professional called an Occupational Health Therapist might also help your child be more accustomed and independent in daily routines, personal habits, and other activities. This may include teaching your child how to properly eat, use utensils, wear clothes, and hold crayons and pens. A session may focus on learning how to play or work various recreation activities.
Occupational Therapists may use various methods and activities during therapy. These of which may include interactive strategies that use assistive technologies specialized for your child’s individual needs.
A licensed speech-language pathologist or speech pathologist can help teach children with Autism various communication skills such as word articulation, effective listening, sentence construction, and many others. Sessions in speech therapy are usually dedicated to learning verbal directions, determining social cues and how to respond to them, or participating in self-paced conversations with people.
The setting might be dependent on your child’s present needs. Your Speech Therapist can select if a personal and controlled environment or a group dynamic is the best fit for your child’s preferences. There are also times when your therapist might ask you if you would like assistive communication tools for your child’s progress.
Social Skills Therapy
There are therapy sessions called to practice and develop social skills among children with Autism. It is a safe area where children learn how to work and get along with others while learning about active participation in social situations. Session in social skills therapy offers children with Autism an opportunity to enjoy while learning how to interact with people such as the other kids without Autism.
Speech therapists or autism specialists are usually the ones who manage and facilitate sessions of social skills therapy.
Applied Behavioral Analysis
This form of behavioral therapy uses rewards to support and reinforce positive behaviours or teach new skills to children with Autism. However, goals in this therapy are usually based on the individual. They might be focusing on:
- Learning effective communication
- Developing social skills
- Learning hygiene and personal care techniques
- The school works like hold crayons and pencils.
Moment-by-moment and timely feedback are essential in ABA therapy. That is why parents and caregivers are also trained. There are various techniques in Applied Behavioral Analysis. They are the following:
- Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT)
- Discrete Trial Training (DTT)
- Verbal Behavior Intervention (VBI)
- Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI)
Relationship Development Intervention (RDI)
Although relatively new, RDI has been trademarked as a form of therapy for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder. RDI is most beneficial for children who are only starting with therapy.
Sessions in RDI aim to teach children how to engage and establish relationships with their parents and siblings. Like most therapies for Children with Autism, RDI focuses on the disorder’s lack of social skills or interaction.
To maximize the opportunities and success of therapy, parents are usually trained and assisted in using all possible options to teach their child with Autism. This will allow active feedback to let him or her develop essential social skills.
Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
PECS Activity uses picture trading for complimentary items or activities. Children with Autism who find it hard to speak or understand cues may benefit from this program. However, PECS can be challenging to try for kids who are unwilling to communicate and whose interests aren’t in objects or specific activities.
Therapeutic Horseback Riding
Sometimes dubbed as “hippotherapy”, this unique form of therapy places a child in a horse with the goal of adjusting to the movements of the horse. This is attributed as a form of physical therapy style and has been effective in making children less irritable and hyperactive.
Children with Autism might find it hard to process sensory cues such as sounds, too bright lights, food textures, and loud noises. Enrolling in Sensory-Integration Therapies teaches your child to process these triggers. This is done by increasing slowly but gradually their tolerance with uncomfortable sensory cues via an interactive play-based program.
Due to sensitivity and selectivity, children with Autism might find it hard to get the recommended nutrition daily. A Registered Nutritionist or Nutrition Specialist can help design better meal plans for the child’s preferences and limited diet. When food and nutrition needs are met, the child may still grow as a healthy adult, even under special types of diet.
Gluten-free and Casein-free diets are the usual food customs for people with Autism.
Communication interventions are essential in behavior therapy. People with Autism might have difficulties in expressing their needs and desires. This lack of effective communication may result in conflicts and misunderstandings with people diagnosed with Autism.
Teaching communication skills may be done through technologies such as iPads or virtual platforms. But more effective processes usually include social learning through peer tutoring, amplifying games, and other group dynamics.
There are plenty of evidence-based therapy and counseling types that may assist the development and growth of children with Autism. They can range from those that allow personal growth or others that facilitate social interactions. Along the way, parents’ help is usually in need as an assistive approach in therapy.
Apart from choosing which therapy will fit your child’s needs and preferences, parents must also be careful in choosing which care provider to ask for help and advice. Ensure that your therapist is proven, licensed, and skilled enough to manage your child’s special needs. It is also essential to recognize if your child feels safe and enjoys the therapy. If you see that your child is not growing or is not learning enough, it is better to ask for help from your doctor or find better therapy providers to suit what your child needs.