Early intervention has been so important for our family. Max was diagnosed at 4 years old and started ABA therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy right away. The premise of early intervention is that if you can teach new and more appropriate behaviors at a young age then the undesirable behaviors won't become a habit. Diagnosis can occur as early as 18 months of age. The earlier the diagnosis the earlier treatment can begin. Although Autism can't be cured - early treatment and therapy can give your child the best foundation.
ABA Therapy, short for Applied Behavioral Therapy is a controversial therapy in the autism community. The basic premise for ABA therapy is that this therapy is fluid and changes as the child masters new and different skills and is a rewards and consequences based therapy. They reward desirable behavior, for instance, when Max uses the potty he gets praise and a mentos. He LOVES mentos. If he don't follow directions or refuses to do what he is asked, then he will have a time out until compliance is accomplished. In ABA we have gotten very close to being potty trained, Max has learned more about transitions and how to master then, he has learned how to blow bubbles and candles - a skill he never had before (imagine not being able to blow out your birthday candles). He also appropriate peer play and when he first started ABA he had a very hard time making eye contact with people, today he does a great job making eye contact while communicating with others. The list goes on and on. ABA therapy for our family has helped Max become much more independent and compliant. We would be in favor of it for that reason.
Sassy Mama for Autism
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