After you receive the autism diagnosis for your child, it can be challenging to navigate the subsequent changes that occur. What are the next steps? Early intervention is one of the best things you can do for a child with autism. This step includes finding an autism center that offers therapy to help your autistic child grow and learn.
After you go through the enrollment process, you’ll receive the start date. Are there ways to prepare for this first day? Read on to learn how to prepare for your child’s first day at an autism center. You’ll also discover the benefits of autism centers and the therapies they offer.
What Is an Autism Center?
Autism centers specialize in providing care for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). They provide education, treatment, support, and advocacy for the children that attend. You’ll find programs designed to help children and their families navigate the challenges and changes associated with autism.
They’ll find the strategies and methods that work for your child to help them grow. Most of these centers, South Shore Autism Center included, use Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy (ABA) to work on specific behaviors and to better understand your child.
ABA Helps How
ABA therapy works to decrease disruptive and aggressive behaviors while encouraging helpful behaviors. Applied Behavioral Analysis is a flexible form of therapy that therapists can adapt to meet each child’s specific needs.
ABA understands that no two children with autism are alike. ABA focuses on positive reinforcement to improve attention, communication, and language skills while reinforcing that actions have consequences.
Benefits of an Autism Center
Early intervention is critical for children with ASD. It helps their development and teaches them valuable skills they’ll need to succeed in life. ABA is one therapy that can help your child discover and reach their full potential. What are the major benefits of autism centers and ABA therapy? Continue reading to find out.
Improved Motor Functions
Developing gross and fine motor skills are vital milestones in any child’s life. But for kids with ASD, it can be more difficult to make progress in these areas. Motor skills use a specific muscle or part of the body to perform a task. These tasks include brushing teeth, running, using scissors, holding a pencil, and jumping.
The center will break down the functions into smaller, more obtainable goals. One example of a goal could be learning the motions of brushing teeth. Whatever your child needs, their therapists will develop a plan.
Increase of Confidence
Autism centers will focus on your child’s unique needs. This focus allows therapists to work with strategies that best fit your child, building more confidence. This strategy ensures that children can succeed without becoming overwhelmed.
They’ll begin to develop a strong self-image and find their inner voice. The kids will become more excited to learn new skills, proactive in using effective coping mechanisms, and skilled in unfamiliar situations.
It Helps With Social Skills
Children with autism want friendship but can have a more challenging time in social situations. They may not understand how to interact with peers or how to react appropriately to new situations. Autism centers will teach your child appropriate social behaviors, which will improve happiness, help children with autism find a sense of belonging, and increase participation in community activities.
Learn Valuable Life Skills
Learning life skills doesn’t come as easily to children with autism. Basic household chores such as cooking, cleaning, communicating, personal care, and organization are challenging. Autism centers help children with autism learn and understand the importance of these skills and how to improve them. The center will provide hands-on experience and teach them to care for themselves. The lessons cater to the child’s specific needs to make the lessons more relatable.
Autism centers will teach children with autism life skills and behavior management strategies regarding different environments to help them gain more independence. The earlier you involve them in a center and enroll them in therapy, the better. Working with experienced professionals will help a child develop independence at a young age, allowing them to do many things by the time they become adults.
Autism centers teach children with autism these skills away from their parents and in a new environment. This method promotes progress, independent learning, and the development of problem-solving skills. Children with ASD will understand how to communicate their needs and ideas more effectively.
Familiarize Your Child With the Center and Therapy
Before taking your child to their first day at the autism center, you must familiarize them with the place. Drive past the facility a few times in the weeks leading up to the first session. Have an open conversation about what they’ll be doing there and what the center is.
You likely went inside already for their evaluation, which helps with the familiarization process. Talk about what they saw and the therapists they met inside. Children with autism don’t always do well with changes, so they may have a challenging time on their first day if they’re unfamiliar with the setting. These preparation steps will help ease your autistic child’s anxiety about the situation.
Prepare Your Child the Night Before
Ensure your child gets a good night’s sleep the night before. A child with autism is more responsive to therapeutic services when they stick to their predictable routine, consistent expectations, and adequate sleep. Put them to sleep at the same time, following the same pattern.
It’s beneficial to talk with them about how the day will go the night before. Ask them if they have any questions about the center. Discuss any fears and answer any questions.
Get To Know the Therapy
As a parent of a child with autism, you need to familiarize yourself with the therapy styles and strategies the therapists will use during therapy. You should also understand the science behind ABA therapy. Understanding the center and therapy will help you understand why therapists use specific strategies with your child. You can become an active participant in your kid’s therapy journey.
Ensure you ask the center any questions you may have about the therapy. What specific approaches do they use? What are their goals for your child? How much therapy do they recommend at the center? How do they handle meltdowns? It’s good to know their approaches.
You can also coordinate with them and utilize the same strategies. This collaboration will unify everything for your child. When they come home, they’ll have the same methods and strategies to grow.
Taking your child anywhere new can be challenging for them, and autism treatment centers understand this. Allowing your child and yourself to become more familiar with the center and the therapy will help make the transition easier. Your child will feel more prepared for their first day at the autism center. You’ll get to watch your child grow, learn, and become more independent with each therapy session.