Most parents’ greatest hopes are that their children grow up to be happy and healthy, so learning that your child might have autism spectrum disorder can feel scary. However, sometimes the symptoms of ASD aren’t as obvious as you might think. This is why it is important for your pediatrician to perform screenings at your children’s regular check-ups. If your doctor is not screening for autism spectrum disorder, ask them to do so. And if you or someone you love receives a positive diagnosis, don’t worry: there is a wide range of autism spectrum disorder treatment programs you can seek out.
Autism Treatment Programs
The most effective, widely recognized intervention for ASD is applied behavioral analysis (ABA). ABA is an evidence-based method proven to help most children with ASD improve challenging outcomes. The earlier a child begins to receive the treatment, the more effective it usually is.
The exact treatment program will vary depending on each person’s age and specific strengths and challenges. When you seek out an autism therapy program, look for ones which offer variety, including:
- Early intervention for children between 1.5 to 7 years of age
- Targeted intervention for older children, or for children with fewer behavioral challenges
- School consultations to ensure treatment needs are being met within the school setting
- Facilitated group activities within a treatment center for children to develop social skills with their peers
- Parental training so parents also develop the skills they need to support their children
Telehealth and Screening for Autism Spectrum Disorder
After your child has undergone screening for autism spectrum disorder and you’ve done your research on different programs available, what next? The evidence is clear that early intervention is very important in helping kids on the autism spectrum adapt and overcome challenges. This is why, as a parent, you probably wanted to begin treatment as soon as you heard about the diagnosis. Unfortunately, many treatment centers have long wait times and it can be weeks or longer before your child’s ABA therapy begins.
That’s even more relevant these days, with school closures and business shutdowns due to COVID-19 impacting many non-emergency aspects of life. It might even be impossible to receive an in-person appointment, depending on the public health situation in your community. So what do you do – just wait around until treatment centers open back up again?
Or maybe your family lives in a rural area, far from the services of therapists or specialized school professionals. In situations like the above, telehealth for autism treatment can be a big help. It’s the same quality of treatment, but it comes in a different, more convenient package.
Parental Services for Autism
Some more good news? You’re not alone if you’re trying to navigate parenting a child on the autism spectrum. There are plenty of autism parent resources available that can provide you the support you need on this journey. For instance, a treatment professional can teach you applied behavioral analysis techniques to use when interacting with your child at home to help reinforce the positive behaviors he or she has already learned.
Additionally, you’ll want to be on the lookout for a program that will offer personalized recommendations for both you and your loved one and assist you in planning additional interventions to address behavioral or medical needs.
If you’re concerned that your child is exhibiting problem behaviors associated with ASD, take action. Start by screening for autism spectrum disorder at your next doctor’s visit, then ask your doctor for recommendations on treatment programs in your area. Remember, the sooner you seek out treatment and support for your loved one, the better.