Starting Therapies: What Symptoms to Target

by | Last updated Jan 25, 2021

Reading Time: 2 minutes

How do I know what symptoms to target?

Having trouble figuring out what to target first in therapy? Last time we talked about looking at your child’s CADE profile and considering what symptoms have the most impact on your life, day to day. 

Remember, if you still need to create a CADE profile, sign up here for a free month of CADE!

CADE Gives You Guidance

If you need some guidance about where to go first, CADE will give that to you. 19 of our 80 symptoms are “priorities for treatment.” CLEAR established these symptoms based on years of experience working with families and asking what families care about most and what they need to live better lives. 

In our “monitor” section of CADE, you can progress monitor the quality of life indicators for your child’s profile. This monitoring means as you address them in treatment you can reassess progress in CADE. You and your clinician can do quarterly ratings to see what is improving and what areas need more work.

Let’s Look at a Sample Case

CADE can help with Starting Therapy.

Let’s pretend we’re the parent of our sample case, “Orion.” 

I generate a “concerns report” in CADE. I see that 5 of 19 quality of life indicators are tough for Orion. These indicators give me an idea of what may be some of the most important symptoms we need to address. I’ll likely find that one of these 5 stands out at home. 

From Orion’s concern report, I see the following sections:


Shift & Flexibility

Toilet Training


Internally Focused

Reciprocal Conversations

Repetitive Behavior

I decide that, yes, I want to work on Shift & Flexibility. Orion has some big challenges there. I turn to that recommendation in the report.

Here’s what I’ll see…

Children who struggle to shift may appear rigid or get stuck a lot. At home: Resist the urge to become just as rigid as your child. Provide warnings, timers, and countdowns to signal a change in activity. If your child tantrums over a shift in schedule, calmly wait this behavior out without engaging in a power struggle. Use empathy with your child. Use the Basket Case approach, in which Basket A is non-negotiable, Basket B is important but negotiable, and Basket C is what you let go.  Decide in advance what you are willing to let go. At school: Consult with the school counselor. If there are school problems, request a meeting to make a plan; consult with your counselor or Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapist. Consider the Strong Kids curriculum for social emotional work. Bibliotherapy: The Explosive Child. Resources: School Services, School Counselor Consultation, ABA Therapy

Now, I know I can consult school, check out the book The Explosive Child, and consider ABA therapy at home to help with this skill. I have an idea of a symptom to target and where to start!

We’re Here to Help

Ready to get started? Click here to sign up for a free month of access to CADE! 

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