While there may not be a known cure for autism spectrum disorder as of yet, there are numerous effective treatments. However, understanding the autism care options available to you can be overwhelming. Ascend Autism believes in educating families. We make sure parents and caregivers know what their options are and learn how best to guide their family through the condition. Being aware of the autism care options available puts individuals in the best possible position to get the treatment necessary and fitting their needs.
Applied Behavior Analysis
Perhaps one of the most frequently used and successful autism care options is applied behavior analysis or ABA. This treatment systematically applies interventions based upon the principles of behavior theory to improve behaviors. For instance, these behaviors include reading and communication, social skills, and adaptive living skills. It intends to work systematically changing behavior by encouraging positive behaviors and discouraging negative ones. As it does so, ABA teaches new skills. It then encourages the child with ASD to apply those skills in new situations. Parents, caregivers, and therapists track and measure progress, adjusting treatment accordingly.
Within this approach, there a few different techniques. For example, therapists and counselors may use the following:
- Discrete Trial Training: DTT uses a series of trials or challenges at each step of learning a behavior or response. Lessons are broken down into their most manageable parts, and through positive reinforcement, correct acts are rewarded while incorrect ones ignored.
- Pivotal Response Training: This form of applied behavior analysis looks to spark a desire to learn in children with an autism spectrum disorder. Also, it increases the motivation to monitor their behavior and initiate communication with others.
- Verbal Behavior Intervention: VBI has a singular focus as it is concerned with teaching verbal skills.
- Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention: Early intervention is always useful. In ABA, there are a couple of options for which EIBI is one. EIBI is used with young children (under three years old). Highly structured and conducted one-on-one, it works to encourage positive behaviors and reduce unwanted or negative ones.
- Early Start Denver Model: Another type of ABA for young children, ESDM, helps children improve their development of social, language, and cognitive skills.
Through these treatments, ABA has proven effective in addressing autism spectrum disorder and improving the development of children with it.
Our Autism Therapy Programs
There are different treatment models all within the broad therapy category of ABA. Each type has a particular emphasis allowing therapists, parents, and caregivers to use as needed. These ABA treatment models include:
- Discrete Trial Training (DTT): This breaks a desired behavior into the simplest steps. It uses prompts and rewards at each step or stage, but as the treatment continues, these rewards are phased out.
- Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI): This form of ABA is designed for young children, usually under age five, and is conducted one-on-one. EIBI is usually between 20-40 hours per week of individualized instruction and goes for up to three years.
- Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT): This approach intends to improve a child’s motivation to learn, self-manage, and initiate communication with others. These are the pivotal areas PRT focuses upon rather than broader behavioral issues. The therapy is usually initiated by the child with ASD and is play-based. In PRT, the entire family is encouraged to make lifestyle changes, so the child with ASD experiences consistency across interactions.
- Verbal Behavior (VB): Sometimes called Verbal Behavior Intervention or Verbal Behavior Treatment, VB is concerned with improving communication and verbal skills. When a child is non-vocal, VB works to help them communicate with a clear, distinct purpose rather than merely functionally. Doing so helps children improve their vocalization as they learn to express themselves and get what they want by using language.
Other Autism Care Options
Some other effective forms of care for ASD include assistive technology and medication. Using common devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops, assistive technology helps improve communication and interaction. A Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) uses picture symbols to teach communication skills by using them to ask and answer questions conversationally.
While not routinely used in all treatments, some autism care options involve medication. For example, when children with ASD develop persistent behavioral problems like irritability, aggression, or self-injurious behavior, medication may be appropriate. Two commonly prescribed and FDA-approved medications include risperidone and aripiprazole. Both are for the treatment of children and adolescents with ASD.
Understanding the autism care options available to you as a caregiver or parent gives you an advantage. It allows you to participate more effectively in treatment. Also, it allows you to grasp the kind of treatments your therapist, counselor, or doctor may employ to address a child’s autism spectrum disorder. ASD is challenging for both the child and the family. Ascend Autism has the programs and expertise to get early intervention underway and provide ongoing therapies after early intervention services conclude. We offer an array of services for treating autism spectrum disorder and commit ourselves to help children and families cope. For instance, we offer the following:
- Targeted Intervention
- Social Skills Work
- Parental Services