6 ways professional help benefits children with autism.
Photo by Caleb Woods on Unsplash
Autism is a disorder with a broad range of conditions that are characterized by repetitive behaviors, challenges with social skills, speech difficulties, and nonverbal communications. But autism is a spectrum disorder which means that individuals aren’t all the same and their symptoms may vary in their type and severity. Therefore, each of them requires a different approach that is curated to the specific area that the child needs to improve. There are different perks you gain from behavioral therapy for autistic children, we showcase six of them in this article.
Improve social skills and communication skills
Children with autism often have challenges when it comes to social interactions. They struggle with simple things like starting a conversation or carrying on a conversation, or in more severe cases, they are unable to communicate at all. But a professional could teach a child how to use their words and how to communicate the things they need. Children with autism often have trouble with making requests, and they often just point and say the name of the thing they want. For instance, if there was a cookie on the table and they wanted it, they’d point at it or just say ‘cookie’. But, therapy will teach them to go beyond labeling things, and start verbalizing their requests and saying “I want the cookie.” Repeating this technique would show them that communications lead to positive results, which will encourage them to communicate.
Easier integration in society
Schools usually integrate children with ASD with neurotypical children. That’s why it’s recommended that children with ASD get behavior therapy early on. This is preferable so they avoid any difficulties when they are interacting with mainstream society. According to ABA therapy provider, an integrated therapy system that relies on applying behavior techniques is recommended for children with severe symptoms. For instance, this type of behavior therapy allows children to both learn and practice these skills, whether it’s in a planned environment like a classroom, or a naturally occurring setting like recess. This will teach children with ASD how to function in mainstream society. Additionally, this method is often a starting point for behavioral therapy.
Help autistic children with other mental illnesses
Some children with ASD suffer from anxiety, depression, or other mental illnesses, which makes them quite fearful and obsessive about small matters. For instance, if the number of toy cars is not specific, that might make them anxious and might cause a meltdown. However, cognitive-behavioral therapy helps reduce these symptoms. This type of therapy helps children change how they think about a situation, while the behavioral part of the therapy teaches them the proper way to react when they are in a triggering situation. The goal is to teach children to navigate difficult situations and provide them with the necessary coping skills they need to survive in the mainstream world.
Enhancing the skills they already have
Some autistic children already have skills, such as communication skills or social skills. Therefore, the method of Developmental and Individual Relationship Therapy or floortime focuses on enhancing their already existing skills. Additionally, it makes these skills a starting point to build other different skills. The way it works is that it engages the motivated child and makes them lead the way during therapy. Then the therapist or the professional just follows through by being able to catch on naturally occurring moments and using it as teachable moments.
Improving familial relationship
Because of the nature of the disorder, children are unable to form proper familial relationships with their family members. Moreover, parents also struggle to find the right way to engage with their autistic child. The method of Relationship Development Intervention helps children and parents improve their relationship by sharing emotional and social experiences. This method not only strengthens the relationship between both the parent and the child but enables the child to form strong emotional and social connections with others.
Children with autism usually excel in one or two subjects, but they may struggle with the other subjects. Professionals would help them through TEACCH or Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children, which is a learning method aimed specifically at people suffering from ASD. This method can improve their academic performance and address the academic challenges they face.
You need to figure out which approach your child needs, that might mean that you will need to try different approaches and monitor their progress and make adjustments when necessary. Behavioral therapy remains one of the most effective ways to help a child with autism, and to be able to achieve long term results it’s recommended that you continue with it.