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Autism: Signs, Effectiveness of Therapy, and Other Considerations

Boy with autism

As parents, we would do anything for our children. So, if you suspect that your child may be on the autism spectrum, you naturally want to do everything you possibly can to get them the help they need.

One of the best ways to achieve positive outcomes for children with autism is to diagnose the condition early. If you think your child may be showing signs of autism, contact TherapyWorks right away.

Our team of pediatric speech, occupational, and physical therapists, as well as social workers, are experts in working with children on the autism spectrum.

Our years of experience has taught us that every child is different. As we like to say, “if you’ve met one child with autism, you’ve met one child with autism.” That’s why we’ll tailor our therapy to suit your child’s unique needs.

We would be proud to help your child succeed. If you’d like to learn more about autism or treatments relating to autism, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Autism: Signs, Effectiveness of Therapy, and Other Considerations 1 Autism: Signs, Effectiveness of Therapy, and Other Considerations

Signs of Autism

For autism to be diagnosed, a child must exhibit symptoms in each of two main categories.

  1. Difficulty with social communication: For example, they may not make eye contact with you while being fed or show interest in communicating with you or others. They may make facial expressions that do not match what they are saying, or react unusually to certain sights, sounds, or smells. All these behaviors indicate that the child has difficulty with social communication.
  2. Restricted interests and repetitive behaviors: They may focus intensely on a specific object or topic, or they may repeat a certain action over and over again. For instance, a child may insist on taking the same route to school every morning or display unusual attachment to objects like toys or keys. They may obsess over specific bodies of information such as maps, manuals, or tables of statistics.

Be aware that these symptoms do not necessarily mean your child is on the autism spectrum. If your child demonstrates difficulties with social interaction or repetitive behaviors that match the common signs of autism, reach out to a professional for further advisement.

TherapyWorks is happy to advise you on seeking an evaluation for your child. We recommend contacting your child’s pediatrician or scheduling a free phone consultation.

Effectiveness of Therapy

Our highly effective pediatric therapy for children on the autism spectrum focuses on five key areas.

  1. Bringing attention outward: We encourage eye contact, shared experiences, and social language development to help your child communicate effectively.
  2. Reinforcement: We’ll make social experiences joyful and desirable for your child.
  3. Regulating interfering behaviors: We help children keep calm and regulate behaviors and distractions that may inhibit their ability to learn and grow.
  4. Mass practice of weak skills: We assess each child individually and set goals in their areas of highest need.
  5. Reducing stress, providing stability, increasing motivation: The best way to meet goals and milestones is to have a positive experience doing it. We strive to forge a bond with the children under our care. We determine the unique motivators of each child to help them succeed.
Therapist working with child with autism

Important Considerations

Here are a few important considerations based on the current autism research.

Early intervention is key. The brain changes constantly throughout our lives, and the fastest change occurs before the age of 8. If autism is diagnosed early, therapists can take advantage of the brain’s ‘plasticity’ at a young age and make rapid progress towards meeting a child’s unique needs and goals.

Focused treatment should include the following:

  1. Interactive play, such as with the DIR Floortime model
  2. Perceptual training, such as the mirror neuron system
  3. Imitation of functional routines
  4. Executive function and theory of mind training

Pediatric speech, occupational, and physical therapists are often the first professionals to identify signs and diagnose autism in a child. Studies show that 90% of children who are identified as on the autism spectrum were already receiving therapy at the time of diagnosis.

TherapyWorks is here to help your child succeed. Please reach out to us and we’ll discuss your child’s unique and specific needs and how we can help.

See here for our full pediatric autism services.

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Are you interested in services for your child? Founded by Michelle Worth and Erin Vollmer, TherapyWorks provides speech, occupational and physical therapies in-home and via teletherapy.

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