Receiving a diagnosis of autism for your child or young relative can be extremely overwhelming for many families. People feel a sense of confusion, frustration, and apprehension if they discover that a loved one is on the spectrum, as they are not sure how the diagnosis will impact that person’s life. Autism is not a disease; while being diagnosed as on the spectrum does not mean that a person will lead a life away from the norm.
Between ABA therapy for autism and other therapies, families have countless options for ensuring autistic children and young adults grow up to live healthy and fulfilling lives. Below is a breakdown of the various types of autism therapies and an analysis of how one of those therapies may be right for your loved one.
One of the most significant issues for someone with an autism diagnosis is behaving around others. Such an issue is particularly relevant in children who are on the spectrum.
Behavioral therapy is crucial to ensuring that a child can remain in school, function in class, and get along with their peers. Such therapy can also help deal with any problems the child may be having in engaging with their family members or other people they meet outside of school.
Every therapist may have their own ideas about what specific therapies to conduct to help a child with their behavior. The best way to know if a therapist is right for your child is to set up one or two introductory sessions. Both the therapist and child can assess if they are the right fit.
Relationship Development Intervention (RDI)
One of the issues that a person with autism can face includes their ability to form relationships with friends, family members, or people they meet at school. A young person who is on the spectrum may not have the same level of social or interpersonal skills as their peers of a similar age. That may lead their parents or teachers to think they have no interest in making friends, when that is rarely the case.
Much like people who are not on the spectrum, people who are autistic do have a desire to feel connected with those around them. A desire to have real and meaningful relationships is very much present, which is where relationship development intervention can help so immensely.
Such therapy ensures that children with autism can learn the social skills and mechanisms to better talk with their parents, extended family, friends, classmates, teachers, and others they encounter each day.
Another reason why the therapy is so useful is because it helps kids cope with transitions. For instance, a child who is getting to an age where they can no longer stay home, and must go to school each day, may be having a very hard time coping with such a drastic change to their routine.
A unique therapy that has been gaining a lot of traction over the past few years, equestrian therapy is emerging as a great option for parents of children with autism. Such therapy allows people who are diagnosed as being on the spectrum to ride horses in a non-threatening and comfortable environment.
Research shows that horseback riding helps people improve their social and communication skills, while it also reduces their irritability and hyperness. If a parent wants their child to be more active, while also receiving therapy for being on the spectrum, equestrian therapy is a great option.
Another therapy that is extremely important among those with autism is speech therapy. Young children who are on the spectrum may have issues forming specific words, while their accents may also be slightly different from what is common in the area where they live.
Speech therapy works on accent, articulation of words, sentence formation, and with listening. Children must not only be assisted in speaking clearly, but also in the ability to listen to their peers, parents, teachers, or other people in their lives.
Not every child who receives an autism diagnosis may have issues with processing noises or lights around them. Some children with autism are a lot more sensitive to noise, light, textures, and any other things that may trigger their senses in an unpleasant way.
Sensory-integration therapy helps children overcome the issues they may be experiencing when dealing with such triggers. The therapist can work with autistic children on their responses to such situations. Many children may throw a tantrum if they are exposed to noise or light they do not enjoy, which the therapist can help to control.
A form of therapy that is becoming increasingly popular among autism experts, especially those who treat little kids, is play therapy. The idea is that children who have an autism diagnosis may not play with others in the same way as children who are not autistic.
They may focus on a part of the toy that fascinates them rather than playing with the entire toy. They may not even want to play with others, as they prefer to engage with their toys and surroundings alone.
Play therapy is very helpful in improving a child’s social and emotional skills. They can become more comfortable playing with others, knowing how to politely tell another kid they want to play alone, and in dealing with any issues that may arise when a lot of kids are playing together at school or at a local park.
Living a Fulfilling Life on the Spectrum
An autistic child has as many chances to get into a great college, land a well-paying job, and be in relationships as a person who does not receive such a diagnosis.
If you have a young child who has a high chance of being diagnosed with autism, you may be concerned about how they will develop.
The good news is that with so many therapies emerging for autism, such as the ones highlighted above, there is a significant cause for optimism. Children who are diagnosed as being on the spectrum do need different care and attention from children who are not autistic. They can, however, grow up and live a wonderful life if they have the necessary support, love, and care.