Helping Your Child With Autism

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It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be. – J.K. Rowling

Receiving an autism diagnosis can be a vulnerable time in a family dynamic. Parents and guardians are left with a thousand questions met with few answers. The first place to start is thinking about your child’s individual needs. “If you have met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism,” a famous quote from Dr. Stephen Shore which directly addresses the differences in an autism diagnosis. Every child has their own strengths, weaknesses, and potential. Once you are able to pull apart the child’s unique personality, capabilities, and areas for growth the learning process can begin.

The process of research and learning about what to expect from a child with an autism diagnosis can be a daunting task. You will find different opinions on what the “right” path for your child should look like. Remember, opinions are hardly ever fact. Unfortunately, there are many “therapies” available claiming to cure autism. Claiming to “cure” autism means there is something wrong with the individual. The world is full of unique and imperfect people, autism does not mean your child is broken. Autism is a different way of looking at and addressing the world.  “The most interesting people you’ll find are ones that don’t fit into your average cardboard box. They’ll make what they need, they’ll make their own boxes,” Dr. Temple Grandin. Finding treatment tailored to your child with the ability to help them build their own boxes can be evidence and fact based. One such therapy exists, Applied Behavior Analysis.

What is Applied Behavior Analysis: Simply stated applied behavior analysis or ABA is a technology (science) used to change behavior (The Vista School, 2010). Practitioners trained in applied behavior analysis work with individuals diagnosed with autism utilizing a scientific approach towards behavior. Goals are chosen with the assistance of family members and are focused on social significance.

Socially Significant Goals: Determining socially significant goals for individuals is a main component of the implementation of ABA. A five-year old boy who lives in the city will have drastically different goals then a 14-year old girl living on a dairy farm. Clinicians address the specific wants and needs of the individual. Aiming to teach skills relevant to their daily lives and social interactions.

Steps to Success: ABA strives to set individuals up for success. Clinicians and paraprofessionals utilize several different data collection methods to determine why a behavior is occurring. With the assistance of data, evidence-based treatments are utilized to teach skills to help the individual address their personal needs. A crucial component to the success of an individual depends on the involvement of their immediate family or caregivers.

Family Involvement: Family members active participation in ABA allows for the individual to generalize their new skills outside of therapy sessions. Clinicians work one-on-one with parents and guardians to teach them how to work with their children while answering questions along the way.

Caring for a child with ASD can present different barriers for parents. These barriers can lead to joy and learning moments for the individual and their family. One important step in creating a support system for the individual with ASD and their family unit is to find a company known for their reputable ABA services.

Mercy Plus Healthcare Services provides applied behavior analysis with the aim to maximize potential. Services provided to our clients and families follow the core values of behavior therapy by addressing the individual. The lack of cookie cutter techniques allows Mercy Plus Healthcare Services to build and maintain an excellent reputation with our ABA families.

Our clinicians and behavior technicians are ready to assist you in creating an environment where your loved one with autism can learn and grow based on their needs. While following our evidence-based techniques and consistency, positive results are achievable over time.

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