Early Interventions for Best Outcomes in Children
Signs of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) begin during early childhood and can sometimes be diagnosed in children before they are two years old. Research shows that early intervention for toddlers with ASD helps to improve their intellectual ability and even reduces symptoms of autism years after receiving treatment. The sooner the child gets treatment, the better the chance for learning and progress.
Early intervention programs often include family training, speech therapy, physical therapy, hearing impairment services, and nutrition services, and they help children gain social, physical, thinking, communication, and emotional skills that are usually learned in the first two years of life. Decades of study have shown the effectiveness of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) as an intervention to increase desired behaviors and decrease undesirable behaviors in children with ASD. Four different types of ABA include:
- Discrete Trial Training (DTT): This method teaches each step of a desired behavior or response, breaking lessons down into their simplest parts. Positive reinforcement rewards correct answers and behaviors, and incorrect answers are ignored.
- Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI): This is a type of ABA for children usually younger than five, and often younger than three.
- Pivotal Response Training (PRT): The goal of PRT is to increase a child’s motivation to learn, manage his own behavior, and initiate communication with others
- Verbal Behavior Intervention (VBI): VBI is a type of ABA that focuses on teaching verbal skills.
The National Research Council recommends that children with ASD receive a minimum of 25 hours of intervention per week, 12 months a year, although this intense level of service is not always available in every state. However, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that requires states to ensure that free, appropriate public education is available in the least restrictive environment to all eligible children with disabilities. Part C of this law addresses Early Intervention (EI) services for children birth to age 2 years and 11 months, and Part B addresses special education and related services for children ages 3 through 21 years. An Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is created for children birth to 3 years old who are deemed eligible for Early Intervention services.
Early interventions give children the best chance of reaching their full potential. Some children who are diagnosed and treated at a young age and have better than average thinking ability and motor and language skills may even go off the spectrum when they get older.
Harsha Autism Centers provide ongoing care for children, adolescents, and young adults (ages 2-22) with autism to improve the quality of their lives. If you would like learn more about how Harsha Autism Centers can help please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (812) 233-8833.