Autism: Signs, Effectiveness of Therapy, and Other Considerations

Boy with autism

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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.

COVID-19 Protocol

We hope you and your family are continuing to stay safe and healthy! We have outlined our protocols for in-person sessions during COVID-19. As you know, the health and safety of our clients and therapists remain our highest priority. As always, please reach out with any questions or concerns. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding as we work together through these unprecedented times.


Hand Washing:
Upon arrival at your home, your therapist will wash their hands with soap and water and/or use hand sanitizer. We ask that you and your child also wash your hands and/or use hand sanitizer upon your therapist’s arrival.
 
Facemasks:
We are asking our therapists to wear masks upon entering your home and throughout your child’s session. That said, we understand that some children have adverse reactions to seeing adults in masks and will leave it up to you and your therapist to decide your comfort level while still taking safety precautions.
 
We ask that parents and caregivers also follow the guidelines and wear masks when sitting in on sessions. We will not enforce that policy, but we do kindly ask for compliance.
 
As for your child, we realize that masks may not be appropriate for every child so we will not enforce the rule that children over the age of 2 should wear a mask.  However, if your therapist insists that your child wear a mask, then that will be a requirement directly between the two of you. We respect our therapists’ individual comfort levels with safety precautions and ask that you respect them as well.

 

Protocol Acknowledgment and Health Certification:

Before your child’s first in-person session, we are asking clients to submit an acknowledgment of these protocols and a health certification, which you can find here. Thank you again for your cooperation and for helping all of us stay healthy!