No one in my life knows (until now) the absolute fear I felt when I found myself pregnant for the second time. At first, I was filled with happiness and love, but then the doubts came creeping in. No one knew that in the back of my head I was terrified of having another baby go through what my first son, Zach, as he is a child with autism, goes through. I kind of tricked myself into believing it was impossible to have two children on the Autism Spectrum, even though my logical side rolled its eyes at me in disbelief.
Yes, it was a very unreasonable response but nonetheless, it was there.
Even though I had already went through pregnancy, I did NOT feel like a pro. A little more prepared? Yes, but I was no way considering myself a pro at this time. Its just that I already loved my baby, and nothing else mattered, so I brought my head up high and did what I had to do.
At the age of two, my baby Jojo, who was very much non-verbal and self directed, was also diagnosed with ASD.
I remember with Zach, I let the professionals generally take control because, what did I know right? But even though I have once again have been blessed with another child with autism -second time around, I found it hard to let go of the reins and let decisions be made for me. Especially when by now, I saw how things were handled and I started recognizing the different types of teaching structure or programs that are out there for children with ASD. As I mentioned before, Autism Spectrum Disorder covers such a broad array of symptoms, that there really canNOT be just one way to teach them either.
My Child With Autism – Second Time Around Picking Intervention Therapy, will center around the different types of intervention that I was offered or had researched and also how, even with this pandemic, my sons still was able to improve and flourish!
What are Interventions
The definition of intervention means to do something, taking action or using a treatment to try to improve a particular problem or condition.
There are many kinds of interventions when it comes to autism spectrum disorder (ASD). These interventions might involve parents, children or both. They can also be one-time events or involve many sessions spread over the years.
Intervention Services for Autism Spectrum Disorder
There are a wide range of interventions for ASD. Ranging from those based on behavior and development to those based on alternatives or medicine therapy. Some of these interventions can also be combined- for example, a mix of behavior and developmental intervention may be needed, depending on the situation.
Included are the list of treatments available; and they are applied behavior analysis, social skills training, occupational therapy, physical therapy, sensory integration therapy, and the use of assertive technology.
Types of Interventions:
Behavior and Communication Approaches
Behavior and communication approaches help children with ASD, using an intervention that can provide a structure, direction, and organization for the child, including family participation.
Types of Treatments are:
-Behavior and Communication Approaches
-Complementary and Alternative Medicine
*Applied Behavior Analysis(ABA)
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a notable and well-known intervention approach. ABA has become greatly accepted among the healthcare professionals and is being used in many schools and treatment clinics. The child’s progress is closely tracked and measured while ABA encourages positive behaviors and discourages negative behaviors to improve different types of skills.
Example Of The Types Of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA):
*Discrete Trial Training (DTT)
DTT is a teaching style that uses a series of trials to be able to teach each step of a desired behavior and/or response. The lessons given are broken down to their most simplest parts and the children are given positive reinforcements to reward corrected answers and behaviors.
*Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI)
This type of ABA are for very young children, usually younger than 5 and often younger than 3, with ASD. Using a highly structured teaching approach to help build positive behaviors (like social communication) and reduce unwanted behavior patterns such as tantrums, aggression and also self- injury.
EIBI takes place in a one-on-one, adult to child environment under the supervision of a trained professional.
*Early Start Denver Model (ESDM)
This is the type of ABA for children between the ages of 12 to 48 months. Though ESDM, both parents and therapists are used, to play and do joint activities to help children work and develop their social, language and cognitive skills.
*Pivotal Response Training (PRT)
PRT main target is to increase motivation to learn, initiate communication with others, and to learn to monitor their own behavior. Positive changes in these behaviors are believed to have a great positive effect on other behaviors the child may need help in.
*Verbal Behavior Intervention (VBI)
VBI is a type of ABA that only focuses on teaching verbal skills.
-Please see the following therapies that can be added as part of a complete treatment program for a child with ASD:
Communication boards and electronic tablets are just examples of assertive technology that is known to help people with ASD to communicate and interact with others. An example of this is a Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) which uses picture symbols to teach communication skills. They will be taught to use the picture symbols to ask or even answer questions and also have a conversation! Another device a person with ASD can use is a tablet as a speech-generating or communication device.
*Developmental, Individual Differences, Relationship-Based Approach (Also refer to as “Floortime”)
This approaches focuses on the relational and emotional development (feeling with relations with caregivers). This is also a great way for the child to learn how to deal with sights, sounds, and smells.
*Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication-hanicapped CHildren (TEACCH)
Using visual cues to teach skills, TEACCH, for example uses picture cards to teach and help children how to get dressed. IT does this by breaking down the steps little by little.
Occupational Therapy, also known as OT, teaches skills to help the person live as independently as possible. These skills may include eating, bathing and also relating to people,
*Social Skills Training
Social skills training teaches children the skills needed to interact, which includes conversation and problem-solving skills.
Speech therapy helps improve their communication skills. Some are able to learn verbal communication skills. unfortunately, with others, it is more realistic to teach via gestures and/or pictures.
There are some dietary treatments that have been developed to address ASD symptoms, however, it was found that in randomized control trials, little evidence was there to support the use of dietary treatments for children with ASD.
Sometimes, biomedical interventions call for a change in diet. Such diets removed, add or replace certain foods from a child’s diet. This is based on the idea that food allergies or lack of vitamins and minerals cause symptoms of ASD. Some parents feel that this dietary changes makes a difference in how their child feels or acts.
If you are thinking of making changes to your child’s diet, please consult with their pediatrician first, to ensure necessary vitamins and minerals for their growth and development.-
-Sathe, N., et al., Nutritional and Dietary Interventions for Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review. Pediatrics, 2017. 139(6): p. e20170346.
There is NO cure for ASD or treatments of core symptoms. However, there are medications that can help people with ASD function better. An example of that is medication that can help with anxiety and depression, inability to focus, seizures, high energy level, self-injury, or behavioral reactivity.
These medications might not affect all children in exactly the same way, so make the important decision to seek a professional and experienced doctor. One who will monitor your child’s progress and reactions while taking these medications to be sure of any negative side effects and to ensure it does NOT outweigh the benefits.
Complementary and Alternative
Some parents and healthcare professionals are seeking out treatments that are outside of what is typically recommended by pediatricians, to relieve the symptoms of ASD. These treatments are called complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments. CAM treatments refer to products or services used in addition to OR instead of traditional medicine. They might include specialized diets, dietary supplements, chelation (a treatment that removes heavy metals like lead from the body), biological’s (Example: secretin), or mind-body medicine.
Many of these treatments have NOT been studied for effectiveness and can be harmful. So please talk to your child’s doctor before starting any unknown treatments
Is Intervention Working?
Intervention ABSOLUTELY works! With the various therapies given to my boys, I see the baby steps and the milestones that I KNOW would not have happened or would not have happened when it did; if not for the men and woman being there to support and help my boys. Yes it is a group effort, as in parent are encourage to repeat at home and practice some things that they do in their sessions from therapy, but let me be honest, I would not have known, had they not guided me.
Every child is different too! My first son, Zach took a longer to get into it and after 4 years of first intervention and then special school AND therapy, he has sung me songs, given me love and have strive to be better and learn all the time!
While my second son, Jojo, has just started early intervention about 6 months ago and has improved with imaginative play, better eye contact, has been calling me mama AND is pointing like nobody business and I LOVE IT!
I am eternally grateful for the wonderful programs that they have for my kids.
Zach and Jojo are my inspiration and without them I would not have gained the courage to move forward in life and reach for happiness. To follow my passion and stick by it through thick and thin. To embrace moments and savor victories.
They showed me how to DREAM again. They showed me strength. They showed me love.
***Drop a comment and start a conversation! Do you have questions, advice or care to share you experience, I would love to hear it! Keep Shining Guys!***