Over the years, I have talked with hundreds of parents who have children on the Autism Spectrum, listening to their stories of how Autism is affecting their life and the life of their child; many parents, just like myself some time ago, wondering where to begin after learning their child has autism.
Their child is missing skills. They can’t talk, or maybe they talk incessantly, but only about the one thing they are in to while driving everyone else crazy; Autism has many faces. Their child is rigid; maybe they won’t wear anything but soft pants, they only use a certain toothpaste, they will only eat certain foods, and their food is not allowed to touch the other food on their plate, or the screaming and meltdown will begin.
The hardest stories for me to hear have been the children whose parents didn’t realize or initially feel that it was important to get their child help at the time of their Autism diagnosis; who didn’t realize how significant it was when their child was unable to sit with other kids their age, unable to pay attention to others and things they should be learning, and unable to interact with others.
Now their child is in grade school, or maybe middle school, and doesn’t have the needed social skills to appropriately engage with their peers and is depressed and struggling. Their child is now realizing they are different and other kids don’t want to be around them because the other kids don’t understand them. Some kids are okay being alone, but many of them long to have friends.
In these conversations, my heart goes out as I hear and feel the pain of both the parent who loves their child, and the pain of the child as they deal with failing at school, having no friends, and struggling with the challenges of Autism.
The longer a child with Autism goes without effective therapy and treatment, the more their self-esteem is ravaged, and the more ineffective and undesirable behaviors become embedded. Children who have experienced the consistent rejection of others, who can’t communicate their needs, who can’t fully comprehend what other people are saying to them, and who have been bullied for years have a much harder road as they try to work through many of the challenges that come with Autism.
The earlier effective therapy starts, the sooner the positive impact can begin. When therapy is implemented early, children’s minds are very pliable and they usually learn quickly. They learn communication skills so when they get to school they know what others are asking them, they know how to respond, and their reactions to social situations are appropriate at school, at home, or wherever they are. They develop the skills to function and make friends.
In Child-Centered ABA Therapy, children also learn skills to negotiate for their needs to be met, they learn how to take care of their own sensory needs, and they don’t need to explode to be heard. They learn to take turns when doing activities, how to wait, and how to ask a friend to play. They also learn how to identify their own emotions and understand the feeling of others, and take turns in conversations. Family relationships are meaningful and family members enjoy spending time together.
Child-Centered ABA, when done correctly, is very effective and life-changing for children of any age, so there is ALWAYS hope. Early therapy intervention is the ideal. It can minimize or eliminate years of potential pain, struggle, and frustration for both the parents and the child. But beginning therapy at any age will lead to a brighter future and a better life for everyone involved.
At Elevation Behavioral Science Services, we believe the best therapy comes from people who truly and deeply understand Autism. It comes from caring individuals who want to work with you and learn about your child from you. Our Child-Centered ABA approach looks at the needs of your child and finds the missing skills that they need to learn to be happy within their world. Whether your child is a toddler, a teenager, or anywhere in between, we are here to help them learn, grow, and become the best version of themselves. CONNECT with us to learn more about our Child-Centered ABA Therapy or APPLY HERE to request services for your child.