Autism has social and communication challenges making it difficult for parents to determine which therapy approach is best. Schools frequently move children with Autism into the mainstream early in their schooling. While that’s the larger goal, shifting a child away too soon from intensive behavioral programs that support social growth can hamper progress. Autism Therapy with early intervention can lead to more age-appropriate skills later, allowing an easier transition into the mainstream.
Autism therapy can contain various interventions to diminish symptoms in individuals with Autism. Although there is no way to know what will be more effective for any specific individual, identifying a logical plan, being flexible in monitoring progress, and making adjustments when needed are all part of any successful treatment. Common treatments for individuals with Autism include:
Cognitive Behavior Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is usually recommended for children with milder symptoms of autism. CBT aims to define the triggers of certain behaviors so that a child begins to recognize those moments themselves. Through practice individuals can learn to see when they are about to head down a habituated path and practice something different instead. CBT also helps with concerns common to autism, such as being overly fearful or anxious.
Social Skills Groups
Social skills groups are often encouraged as an adjunct to behavior therapy to provide real world practice with pragmatic language and managing real-world difficulties with peers. Since individuals with autism are usually more comfortable talking and interacting with adults than with peers, social skills groups can help with issues that often come up when being with peers.
Behavior therapy is another option that uses rewards to reinforce positive behaviors and teach new skills. Parents and other caregivers are trained so they can give the individual with Autism moment-by-moment feedback. Treatment goals might include communication, social skills, personal care, and school work.
Play Therapy can provide the addition of structure and rules in a more formal setting. This can be a powerful tool for developing and refining everything from motor skills and coordination, to communication, listening and social skills. Play is all about interacting with others, communicating needs and wants , determining the intentions of others, and taking turns. Play therapy can be taught to parents, and parents can learn to work with the child to build stronger, more meaningful relationships. Learn more: Autism Speaks.org
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