What Kinds of Support Do Kids with Autism Need? Mapping Out Your Network

by | Dec 1, 2020

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Have you ever felt daunted by the task of finding the right supports and therapies for your child?

We’re here to bring you some clarity and get you started on the right path. From considering your child’s age to talking with the school to picking the right first therapy, here is how to get started.

The Age Factor

Parents have reported to us that they paid for thousands of hours of the wrong therapy with no gain. Perhaps these were just wrong for their child, or perhaps these were therapies that don’t have evidence of working. 

Toddlers, children and teens who have an Autism Spectrum Disorder are not all the same. They do not have the same needs universally, which is why an evaluation can be the first step in helping your family figure out a roadmap to treatment. 

Talking with the School

504s and IEPs. The 504 Plans and Individualized Education Program (IEP) plans are documents that specify what services, accommodations, or supports your child needs at school. Children as young as 3 can have services on something like an IEP, called an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). The IEP and 504 Plans typically start around kindergarten. One of these may help your child if he or she has symptoms that impact learning or access to the educational environment. 

How do you get one? The process is often misunderstood. A medical diagnosis from a doctor or psychologist is not enough to ensure you get a plan. A school team decides, with your input, whether your child’s diagnosis has an educational impact. The school team members are not required to “take” the diagnosis from the medical professional, but they are required to “consider” all data and diagnoses as they look at your child’s learning environment.

Therapies

The therapy your child needs will vary based on their profile. 

Behavior: Younger children who have language delays or rigid behavior often really benefit from ABA therapy, which is a research based method for increasing skills like language, functional communication and flexibility. ABA also helps younger children develop social skills. 

Social: Older children and teenagers diagnosed on the Spectrum are often a good fit for a social group or cognitive behavioral therapy, which is a kind of talk therapy. It is important that kids or teens have a therapist who really understands and treats autism. 

Language & Motor-Sensory: Depending on your child’s profile, occupational therapy (OT) or speech therapy will be recommended. These are more commonly a fit for a younger child, though speech therapists may also run teenage social groups and work on pragmatic language too. 

Other issues: Therapies like feeding therapy that can be helpful if your child is not eating a healthy diet. Therapies and treatments that are geared towards other diagnoses like trauma or ADHD may be needed. Many children with autism require multiple types of therapies. 

Which one for my child? As you see, there are many options out there and so having a clear picture of your child’s profile may be the best way to determine their unique needs. 

Clear Child Psychology makes the right therapy CLEAR for families! We tell parents on a skill-by-skill basis what kind of therapy is intended to help develop a particular skill. When you complete our survey, skill areas that are challenging for your child will trigger a recommendation. Based on these specific guides, you will know what is the right and best therapy for your child. 

We know this journey can be daunting. We’re here to help.

Book a FREE Discovery Session to get started creating your child’s support network.

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