“The child with autism is like a Mac in a PC world. He’s hard-wired differently. Not incorrectly – just differently. Teach him in a manner meaningful to him.” - Ellen Notbohm, author of the book Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew.
“Earlier the better” is the phrase most appropriate when it comes to the beginning of any form of therapy such as ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis). As soon as the child has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, parents should begin looking into therapeutic models that meet the needs of the child. ABA therapy is one example of therapies that may benefit your child. ABA Therapy is led by a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA) who develops and oversees treatment plan implementation.
The reasons for beginning ABA therapy as early as possible are:
· During their formative years, children go through crucial periods in their overall development. These periods are when a child is very sensitive to external stimuli in the environment around them. Therefore, some concepts learned during therapy pay dividends in the long run.
· The earlier the child is exposed to important and age-relevant behaviors and skills, the easier it will be to generalize the skills to the school.
· An early start to therapy assists with the development of communication skills which helps reduce and/or prevent the occurrence of maladaptive behaviors
· The more skills the child is empowered with at an early age leads to their accessing more & different social and learning environments. For example, “Pivotal behaviors” and “behavior cusps” are critical components especially during the earlier stages of the ABA program.
Early intervention is key to equipping you as a parent with the tools needed to learn how to communicate and engage with your child. Early intervention is additionally crucial for your child because it begins the shaping and tailoring of the learning process for your child removing obstacles in their way.
ABA therapy is customized to meet the needs of each child/person as each child is unique in their own way just like chalk and cheese. The factors borne in mind by the BCBA in devising the customized therapy include the child’s existing behavioral, social, academic, communication, self-help, and other needs from different curricular areas. However, with an early diagnosis should come the start of the therapy process, so that the entire family and community may reap the benefits of the seeds planted, in the long run.