Interventions should be tailored to each child and family. The unique characteristics of your child will help determine which approaches are best suited to your family.
The most effective teams include professionals from different fields who can provide a range of specialized skills and expertise to meet the needs of your unique child and family. Each professional will focus on a particular area of your child’s development. By working together, the team can address a wide range of skills for your child. Professionals you select for your team should have clear roles and responsibilities.
Ask yourself, “What are the priorities and areas of concern for my child?” Then ask your potential service provider(s):
- Is there research that shows this program is effective? If so what kind of research is it?
- How will this program help my child function better?
- How will my child’s progress be evaluated?
- How often will my child be evaluated and what measures will be used?
- How will the program be adjusted according to my child’s progress?
Approaches to Autism Intervention
When & Where:
- Intensive one-to-one intervention at home, in preschool/school and in a variety of community settings on a year-round basis (at least initially)
- Intervention should take place in both structured settings and in more natural environments
- There should be deliberate planning for transitions such as preschool to kindergarten; middle school to high school; high school to adulthood; etc.
Who & What:
- Programs must be developed by well trained professionals with demonstrated qualifications and experience in the field of autism
- Parents, family members, and caregivers should be highly involved in program planning to ensure goals will improve quality of life
- Parents, family members, and caregivers should receive training in intervention strategies so they can provide as much intervention as possible
- Professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds (e.g., Behaviour Analysts/ Consultant, Speech-Language Pathologist, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, medical personnel, etc.) should be brought together to work with the family in a positive manner
- There must be regular, ongoing monitoring of the child’s progress by a professional or team of professionals
- Motivating materials and activities should be used to increase child engagement (e.g., understand what motivates each child and use these motivators to help teach new, positive behaviours)
- Behaviour Interventionists must receive ongoing supervision and training by qualified professionals
- Intervention should include regular, planned opportunities to interact with same age peers who do not have autism or other special needs
Why & How:
- Program plans should be regularly monitored and evaluated to ensure the child is continually making progress. If progress is not being made, program plans need to be adjusted
- Environmental rearrangement and visual supports can be used to help the child learn new desired behaviours – (e.g., decreasing the clutter in an environment or using visual schedules; choice boards; or Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices)
- There should be high levels of predictability and routine to effectively support the child
Intervention should focus on highly supportive, structured teaching methods that incorporate a variety of strategies to help your child acquire and maintain new skills
- Problem behaviours should be addressed with Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) strategies
- There should be planned opportunities for youth to develop skills to improve quality of life (e.g., employment; recreation; hobbies; social networks; etc.)