Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a diagnosis that affects communication, behavior, and other areas of functioning. For young people with autism, daily life is not always easy. However, identifying autism services and supports, like the programs at Transitions, can improve quality of life and overall wellbeing.
What Your Child Needs
Depending on where you live, there may be various autism programs and resources available. And while having options is a good thing, picking the most appropriate can feel overwhelming. To find the right autism services for your child, it is important to know what area(s) they are having the most difficulty in. Autism affects everyone differently. Yet most people experience effects in the following areas of life:
- Work – individuals with autism tend to struggle at work when there is any ambiguity around projects, requirements, etc. They also may have a difficult time with the typical workplace “banter.”
- School – autism affects learning and development. Many young people with autism struggle with sustained attention, impulse control, and organization. This can make completing tasks, working in groups, and relating to peers quite challenging.
- Social interaction –many young people with autism feel socially isolated. Manyhave a hard time reading social cues, making eye contact, and sustaining conversations.
Finding the Right Autism Services
Picking an autism program or service for your child can make the difference between struggle and success.
- Cognitive behavioral intervention – cognitive behavioral intervention (CBI) is a common approach to therapy. CBI focuses on how an individual can change their behavior once they understand the impact of their thoughts have on their actions.
- Applied behavior analysis – the most widely used therapy for autism is applied behavior analysis (ABA). ABA uses interventions based on the behavior deficit(s) observed. This might be in the area of helpful autism life skills, communication, social skills, academics, or reading. ABA, simply put, uses a system of rewards and consequences.
- Social Skills Intervention – social skills interventions are often provided in a group setting. This approach teaches basic conversation skills and nonverbal communication skills. It also focuses on initiating and maintaining social interactions.
- Medication – medications are prescribed to autistic youth who demonstrate aggressive or hyperactive behaviors. Research shows teens as more susceptible to the adverse side effects of medication. Therefore, medication should be used with caution and under the care of a medical professional.
- Dietary approaches – as research emerges, more and more people are trying changes to diet for youth with autism. For example, increasing intake of Omega-3 fatty acids have shown decreased hyperactivity in children and adolescents with autism.
- Art and music therapy – art and music therapy are considered alternative approaches to autism treatment. These tend to be the most popular autism services amongst young people. Art therapy allows for nonverbal self-expression. It also promotes fine motor skills. Music therapy is helpful in language development and speech.
To learn about additional autism services, or to find out more about our Transitions programs, contact us at (518) 775-5384.