If you’re a parent of a child who has recently received a diagnosis of Autism under the age of 2, you will consider what therapies can help them. After all, they may not be verbal right now, they may have little comprehension of the world around them – you may wonder how on earth anyone could teach them socialization and if therapy is even worth it. I know I had many of those thoughts myself; especially since many parents spend countless hours trying to teach my Autistic sons skills with little progress.
One of the first therapies you will likely hear about is Applied Behavioral Analyses (ABA). That sounds like a formidable name by itself, but ABA is simple teaching your Autistic child skills they can use in the world, be it social, verbal, play or correct behaviors. You may also visualize this as your one-year-old sitting attentively at a desk and ask yourself “how will that work?”
Actually, you’d be surprised what little things a one-year-old with Autism needs to learn that will heavily impact them later on – and a lot of it doesn’t involve desks at all. Like the ability to point, the ability to engage for short amounts of time, and most importantly, the ability to play. Teaching a child these simple age appropriate skills will help them build up to more intense things later on. If a child can point to something, they can communicate better and reduce frustration as they grow. If a child can engage for a short amount of time, then your relationship will grow and you will bond. If a child is taught to play with toys appropriately, then they can learn from these toys (as children learn through play).
According to a study performed by researchers at the New England Center for Children 90% of children under the age of 2 made significant social and communication skill gains within a year, when enrolled in an early intervention program. 90% is a big deal, and this drops to 30% if a child begins after the age of 2 and a half. So ABA is almost guaranteed to help your child, and should definitely be a therapy you look into.
ABA is always aimed at a child as an individual; it isn’t a step-by-step program that can be followed out of a book. This is a complex therapy that takes therapists years of study to master, so you can rest assured your little one won’t be put under any learning regiment they are not ready for.