Therapy is Best if Started Early
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 1 in 88 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder, and more and more children are being diagnosed at earlier ages, on average at about 4 years of age. (1)
Addressing behavioral and developmental issues associated with autism early can make a huge impact on how children with ASDs can live more independently. It is important to talk to your child’s doctor as soon as possible if you think your child has an ASD or other developmental problem so that intervention can begin early. (2)
Your state has information on early intervention services, including evaluation for an ASD.
While there is no cure for autism, and dietary changes and medication are not always effective for every child, behavioral method training such as ABA or IBI therapy can be of great benefit for children with autism.
ABA: Applied Behavioral Analysis
ABA, or Applied Behavioral Analysis, uses basic scientific principles of behavior (behaviorism) to encourage positive behavior and discourage negative behavior. (2)
Strategies include positive reinforcement and other methods to address and curb challenging behavior, encourage a child’s social development and participation, and correct and/or establish daily living skills such as personal hygiene and time management.
ABA methods can be:
• Used at home
• Used at school
• Used in the community
• Incorporated into regular classroom routines
• Implemented by parents, grandparents, caregivers, teachers and support workers
• The basis for on-going skill development (4)
ABA therapy may include:
- Discrete Trial Training (DTT) where “lessons are broken down into their simplest parts and positive reinforcement is used to reward correct answers and behaviors. Incorrect answers are ignored.” (2)
- Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI) which is similar to IBI defined below, however, EIBI is for children younger than five, and often younger than three. (2)