According to WHO, every 1 in 100 children is diagnosed with autism worldwide. WHO suggests that the characteristics and signs can be detected early, even as early as 2 or 3 years. It is said that a child’s brain is under development at this stage and is termed plastic. If a child with autism is treated at this plastic stage, there is a high chance of the treatment being effective in the long term. As per the CDC findings, the condition is four times more likely to affect boys than girls. Let us understand early intervention and how it can be effective for children who have autism.
What is Early Intervention?
Early intervention refers to support and services designed for young children or toddlers dealing with developmental delays or disabilities. The early intervention aims to identify and detect the factors leading to poor outcomes. If you are concerned about the health of your little one or suspect that the infant is diagnosed with a disability, you may take support of the early intervention process to catch up in their development.
These programs are focused on helping babies develop healthy habits, which may be related to physical training, cognitive abilities, communication skills, self-help, and social or emotional understanding. The programs may be inclusive of the following:
- Family Training
- Speech Therapy
- Occupational Therapy
- Physical Therapy
- Hearing Impairment
- Nutrition Services
- Communication and Socialising skills
Benefits of Early Intervention for Autism
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex disorder that can impact an individual’s daily life. Autistic children often cannot speak and learn, while others may find socializing strange and avoid communicating. Children with autism develop at a slower pace than other children of their age. It is a long-life condition that can even impact the daily living habits of a child. Research and studies often indicate that early intervention can improve the chances of a positive outcome and encourage children to deal with the condition more effectively. Here are some of how it may benefit the parents of children dealing with autism.
Improve Your Child’s Overall Development
As mentioned above, autism can impact your child’s ability to learn. The brain may not function appropriately compared to children of other ages. Parents can benefit by getting early intervention for their kids. It will give your child a head start. The earlier you start, the better it will be. Even if you have not started early, you should consider starting the program whenever the condition is detected. Individuals diagnosed with autism are not even able to speak fluently. You may even consider enrolling them in a communicative English course when they grow older to improve their proficiency in the language.
Improve Social Skills
One main area that impacts children with autism is their social skills. While we understand that some children do not like to interact much, social impairment can impact their ability to engage with one another or understand others’ perspectives. Early intervention can be a practical approach to help your child boost their social skills and improve their participation in social activities.
Improve Independent Life Skills
Children with ASD often find it challenging to develop self-regulation and coping patterns. They even find it difficult to understand a situation, which may lead to frustration. Most children with autism need assistance from other family members, which can be prevented with the help of early intervention programs. In some instances, the children may be unable to express themselves verbally.
Early intervention therapists tend to detect these early and will give your child the best support. As a result, your child may get proper assistance for developing speech, language, communication, and daily life skills. Starting early will encourage your child to become more independent and appropriately deal with the situation.
Improve Child’s Overall Quality of Life
Children with ASD tend to have poor physical health. Early intervention services will help your child improve their motor skills and lead a better lifestyle. The therapist will encourage physical training and nutritional services to help improve the child’s overall quality of life.
Strengthen Parent-Child Relationship
Children diagnosed with the condition tend to process information differently. They face challenges in their daily lives that are not easy to understand. With the help of experts and therapists, parents can better understand their child’s health. This may allow you to empathize and connect with your child on a deeper level and strengthen the bond with your child.
How Often Should I Screen My Child?
Primary healthcare providers often boast about early intervention for all children. Early detection of developmental delay could help identify the barriers impacting the child’s growth. Doctors suggest screening should be conducted on the 9th, 12th, 18th, and 30th months. If you suspect your child is dealing with critical issues, you must consider detecting it early, when the child is around six months old.
If the child is diagnosed with autism or any other condition, you must contact the healthcare provider for regular screening. Take special care of your child at this stage to ensure proper development and reduce the impact of the critical disorder.
ABA Therapy for Children with Autism
Experts often suggest implementing Applied Autism Therapy (ABA) as a treatment for children with autism. The therapy aims at breaking down the tasks into small and manageable steps. This may allow children to learn and develop skills with a step-by-step approach. ABA therapy is effective for children with developmental problems, irrespective of the cause and symptoms.
Parents should also consider taking speech therapy and occupational therapy for children who have language disabilities. Use Early intervention as an approach to assist your child to develop new skills and help them reach their full potential.