Navigating autism is not easy. If the diagnosis was recent, you’re probably wondering and worrying about the next steps. What resources are available for parents? What therapy is best for my child? Your child’s doctor can help you sift through these questions and move forward with treatment. In fact, they likely have recommendations for which therapy your child would benefit from most.
Whether you recently received the diagnosis for your child or they received their diagnosis years earlier, you should be involved in your child’s treatment. Read on to explore how parents can engage in their child’s autism treatment. Chances are, you will learn how to adapt along with your child.
Importance of Parental Involvement
When your child receives an autism diagnosis, developing a support team will help you tremendously. The team should include doctors, teachers, therapists, and advocates. That said, parental support is one of the most important types of help, if not the most important. Your child will be with you every day. You’re the one implementing the methods they learn at therapy daily. You can help them improve and master the skills they’re struggling with.
Continue To Learn About Autism
Learning and understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) will help you help your child grow. Reading articles, doing research, and talking to therapists will help you develop a better understanding of autism. Always learning is an important part of being a parent to a child with autism.
Don’t be afraid to ask your child’s therapist questions. Ensure you’re scheduling meetings with their therapists to sit down and discuss any concerns and growth opportunities. Experts are continuously discovering new things about autism. It’s a good idea to stay current on all the recent research. You can discuss the findings with your child’s therapist to see if a new approach or therapy will work more effectively. Don’t forget to participate in treatment decisions.
Don’t Give Up
Every child who has autism is different. What works for one child won’t work for another. Or, a specific method may work for a while and then suddenly not work anymore. An apparent loss of progress can be incredibly frustrating for parents. What should you do in these situations? Not giving up is an important part of parenting a child with autism.
You can’t predict the course of your child’s autism. Some days will be better than others. Be careful not to jump to conclusions about what life will be like for your child. They’ll have their entire lifetime to develop and grow their abilities. It may take longer than expected, but many will be able to hold steady jobs and enjoy a fulfilling life.
Stay involved with their therapy to ensure the skills and methods they’re learning are working. These are the tools they’ll need to get them through new challenges.
Become an Expert on Your Child
What things trigger your child to use disruptive and challenging behavior? What are things that cause your child stress or frighten them? What are things your child enjoys? Having the answer to these questions will help you advocate for your kid. Plus, it will help you engage more effectively in their autism treatment.
Since your child is constantly growing and changing, the answer to the above questions may change. Be sure you keep your child’s therapist up-to-date on changes. This current information will help them provide the best methods and strategies.
Support your child from the beginning. They might not be excited about therapy, but explaining the importance of the treatment and consistency will help them gain understanding. Your child will likely feel hesitant, but your support will build their confidence. They’ll grow to know that therapy is a safe space.
Your support started at the beginning. You began noticing signs that your child was different, and because of your care, they got the diagnosis they needed. Be their advocate during doctor appointments and therapy sessions. Your actions will show your child that they can always depend on you.
Many children with autism will become involved in different types of therapy, including applied behavior analysis (ABA), occupational therapy, and speech therapy. Your child will receive individualized treatment plans focusing on the methods and skills that work for them.
A Closer Look at ABA Therapy
Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a therapy that uses the science behind behavior and learning. ABA intends to increase the helpful behaviors while decreasing the harmful ones. It helps therapists understand how an environment affects behavior, how that specific child learns, and how their behavior works.
There are different techniques professional therapists will use to understand and change the child’s behavior. It’s a flexible treatment and changes as your child does. What does the flexibility of ABA look like?
- Teaches skills that are useful in everyday life
- Adapts to meet the needs of your child
- Involves one-on-one and group instructions to help kids learn new skills
- Takes place in the home, at school, or in a therapy office
ABA therapy is incredibly popular because the methods have been around for decades. Your child will learn everything from basic life skills to communication skills and social skills. They’ll learn how to master these skills in group and individualized settings. South Shore Autism Centers is an ABA autism school that provides excellent therapy in Massachusetts.
Positive reinforcement is one of the main strategies therapists use during ABA. It follows the belief that a child will repeat the behavior when a reward or positive interaction follows the expected behavior. This method encourages positive behavior changes over time. The therapist will identify a goal behavior, and each time your child demonstrates the behavior, they will receive a reward. Meaningful behavior will gradually become the go-to. It’s important to know that ABA therapy is useful for autistic children and adults. There’s no age limit to the benefits of this therapy.
Parents will receive training as part of ABA therapy. It will help you implement the same strategies the therapists use at home during sessions. You’ll support their learning and help them practice the skills in other environments.
Turn to South Shore Autism Center to receive quality therapy for your child. We’ll ensure you, as the parent, remain continuously involved in your child’s autism treatment. Everyone will learn and grow together. You’ll learn to develop a good relationship with your child and understand how to be the best parent to them.