To provide support to children diagnosed with autism in their development socially, adaptive skills, motor skills, self-care, and more there are a series of therapies that have been developed and researched to be effective. Applied Behavior Analytic (ABA) therapy is the more commonly known therapy for autism, but in this blog, we wanted to shed light on some other therapeutic approaches that may not be as familiar. The most effective therapeutic approach for your child is to have all the therapy disciplines collaborate on their approach for your child.
Top Six Therapies for children with ASD:
Occupational Therapy - Occupational therapy (OT) assists people with activities of daily life that they need and wish to do. They assist children on a range of developmental topics including sensory processing disorder, motor skill development, social interaction, feeding, potty training, sleep training, and much more. The occupational therapist's goal is to improve the functional ability of patients.
Speech Therapy – Speech-Language Pathology Therapy (SLP) involves ways of improving communication thus improving quality of life. Speech therapists assist children in establishing a method of communication according to the abilities of the child. Different methods of communication that can be introduced are any of the following, but not limited to vocal communication, picture exchange communication system (PECS), and augmentative & alternative communication (AAC). Speech therapists also work on feeding depending on oral motor ability.
ABA Therapy - Applied Behavior Analytic (ABA) therapy is an evidence-based best practice treatment by the US Surgeon General and by the American Psychological Association. ABA is a therapeutic approach that focuses on modifying socially significant behaviors. Through the systematic use of the principles of behavior, functional and adaptive skills are increased, while maladaptive or undesirable behaviors are decreased. ABA is best implemented when in collaboration with other disciplines.
Social Skills Therapy – This therapeutic approach can be delivered by a psychologist, social worker, speech therapist, or behavior analyst. Children on the spectrum are provided a forum to interact with their peers in a controlled setting and work on ways of interacting and engaging with their peers. Goals that can be focused on for example are turn-taking, sharing, and conversational skills.
Hippotherapy - Hippotherapy is another form of occupational therapy that involves horseback riding. With horse riding, the focus is to improve balance, strength, and motor coordination. It also enables language and sensory regulation. The bonding with the horses enables improvement in social skills. A study conducted by Bass, Duchowny, and Llabre in 2009, showed that children who took riding classes as therapy showed positive changes in social skills after 12 weeks of therapy.
Psychotherapy – A psychologist would work on the child one-on-one or group setting according to the child’s needs. The therapeutic approach would assist the child in coping skills and self-advocacy skills, how to handle anxious situations, deal with bullying situations in different settings, issues of self-esteem, and managing relationships.
The therapeutic approach of your choice for your child is dependent on the needs of your child. As aforementioned, a collaboration of all the different therapeutic approaches is what is optimal. Collaboration across disciplines results in the same skills being worked on from different approaches which result in the development of new appropriate skills.
Reach out to Caliber Autism Care today, to discuss ABA therapy and how collaboration takes place across disciplines at Caliber Autism Care.