Therapies 4 Kids - Autism



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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a severe disruption of normal developmental processes that occurs early in life. It leads to impaired language, play, cognitive, social and adaptive functioning, causing children to fall farther and farther behind their peers as they grow older. The causes of ASD are unknown, but evidence points to a genetic basis, with children with ASD having neurological differences in certain areas of the brain.

Although children with an ASD exhibit social communication deficits along with restricted/repetitive behaviours, there are tremendous differences among children in how these areas are displayed. Children with autism do not learn in the same way that children normally learn. However, what is most important to note is that –with the right type of intervention– children with ASD have an amazing ability to learn and grow.

A.B.A. - What is Applied Behaviour Analysis?

Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) is a field of psychology that focuses on applying learning theories to different people and situations. One specific application of these techniques is early, intensive, behavioral intervention (EIBI) for children with autism. The techniques of ABA are grounded in science. Some of the hallmarks of ABA include:

  • Breaking complex tasks into smaller tasks that can be taught more easily
  • Providing repeated opportunities to learn and master new skills
  • Using reinforcement procedures to assist in the acquisition of new skills
  • Understanding the functions of behaviors (e.g. communication, attention seeking, avoidance, etc.) and developing programs to meet the child's needs
  • Making objective, data driven decisions to guide our evaluations of treatment progress
  • Utilizing effective teaching techniques, such as discrete trial teaching (DTT)

Read the article Five Questions About ABA by Victoria Sanchez, BCBA.

Other approaches:

Our individualized programs provide curriculum across all developmental areas of need, making sure that we teach all the necessary skills for successful skill development. Skill areas can include but not limited to:

Autism
  • Learning how to learn
  • Learning via observation of others
  • Language and communication skills
  • Social skills (from basic to advanced)
  • Play & leisure skills
  • Conversational skills
  • Imagination and creativity
  • Independence
  • Sibling interaction and other family relationships
  • Cognitive/ academic skills
  • Motor skills
  • School/Pre-school readiness behaviors
  • Emotional awareness and regulation
  • Self-help skills including dressing, eating, toileting
  • Community living skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Self-awareness and self-evaluation
  • Perspective taking
  • Safety (in environment & with others)
  • Generalization of these skills across people, materials and environments

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

Autism

What Is It?

SENSORY PROCESSING DISORDER (SPD) is a complex neurological condition that impairs the functional skills of 1 in 20 children. The brain and nervous system receive input from body parts as well as from the outside world and People with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) misinterpret everyday sensory information, such as touch, sound and movement. They may feel overwhelmed by sensory information, may seek out sensory experiences or may avoid certain experiences. The richness of the sensory environment and the interactive experience of the individual with the environment contribute to optimal development of function. As a result, learning can be difficult and children may feel uncomfortable, or have difficulty coping with the stress of daily sensory and organizational demands. This often results in additional or behavioral difficulties.

Autism

Sensory Integration (S.I.) is the term used to describe the way in which the brain sorts out and organizes for our use the many sensations, which we receive. Dr Jean Ayres defined sensory integration as, "the neurological process that organizes sensations from one's own body and from the environment and makes it possible to use the body effectively within the environment" (Ayres, p11, 1989).
These difficulties put children with SPD at high risk for many emotional, social, and educational problems, including the inability to make friends or be a part of a group, poor self-concept, academic failure, and being labeled clumsy, uncooperative, belligerent, disruptive, or “out of control.” Anxiety, depression, aggression, or other behavior problems can follow.

Treatment:

Effective treatment for SPD is available, but far too many children with sensory symptoms are misdiagnosed and not properly treated. Untreated SPD that persists into adulthood can affect an individual's ability to succeed in marriage, work, and social environments.

The first step is to bring your child for an Occupational Therapy evaluation.

Autism

Treatment for Sensory Processing Disorder is a fun, play-based intervention that takes place in a sensory-rich environment with Occupational therapists with Sensory Integration training that equips them with skills and knowledge to work collaboratively with individuals or groups of people who have an impairment of body structure or function due to a health condition, and who experience barriers to participation. Occupational therapists believe that participation can be supported or restricted by physical, social, attitudinal and legislative environments.

Therefore, occupational therapy practice may be directed to changing aspects of the environment to enhance participation.

Children are most commonly treated for SPD with occupational therapy (OT) with other complementary therapies. Sometimes other professionals such as physical therapists, speech/language therapists, teachers, and/or others who have advanced training in using a sensory integration approach may be involved in treatment.

Autism

The 7 Senses are:

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  1. Tactile or Somatosensory System – sense of touch
  2. Visual System – sense of sight
  3. Auditory System – sense of hearing
  4. Gustatory System – sense of taste
  5. Olfactory System – sense of smell
  6. Vestibular System – sense of balance
  7. Proprioception System – sense of body position