How Early Intervention ABA Therapy Can Benefit Your Child
In recent years, autism has become one of the most commonly diagnosed neurological disorders in children. There is no surefire way to prevent autism, but early intervention, such applied behavior analysis (ABA), has been shown to be one of the most effective methods for helping children with autism reach their fullest potential. This type of therapy involves providing a child with one-on-one behavioral therapy, and can make a world of difference for a child’s development and future success.
Why is Early Intervention Important for Autism?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects social, communication and behavioral skills. Autism is a lifelong condition, and there is no cure, so early intervention is critical. Early intervention autism treatment can help children acquire the skills they need to be successful in school and in life. Children who receive early intervention tend to have better outcomes long-term. They’re more likely to finish high school, find employment and live independently as adults.
Neuroplasticity and Autism
One of the reasons early intervention is so important for autism is due to neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to reorganize itself and form new neural connections throughout a person’s lifetime. This process begins during fetal development and continues into adulthood.
During early childhood, when the brain is growing and developing rapidly, neuroplasticity is at its peak. This is a critical time for children with ASD because they have an opportunity to develop new neural connections and learn new skills. If these skills aren’t learned during this crucial period of development, it may be more difficult for children with autism to learn them later on.
Early Intervention ABA Therapy
ABA therapy is a type of early intervention that has been shown to be effective for children with autism. It’s a scientific approach to understanding behavior and how it can be changed, and is based on the principles of learning and conditioning.
ABA therapy has been shown to improve neuroplasticity in children with autism. Studies have found that ABA therapy can help children with ASD develop new neural connections and improve their social, communication and behavioral skills and reduce behaviors that might be undesired, such as aggression toward others or self-injury.
For early intervention ABA to be most effective, children should be diagnosed as young as possible, ideally by the age of two, and begin ABA therapy as soon as possible. The goal of ABA therapy is to provide comprehensive treatment, and eventually fade to focused treatment. Once the child has met, generalized, and maintained their developmentally appropriate skills, they will fade out of ABA therapy altogether, as they will no longer need that level of support to live independent lives.
Benefits of Early Intervention ABA
The earlier children with autism start treatment, the more likely they are to see long-term success and positive impacts. Some of the benefits of early intervention ABA and autism treatment include:
- The brain has higher neuroplasticity so it’s easier for kids to develop positive behaviors
- Reduction in negative behaviors before they become habits
- Improved communication and social skills
- School and classroom readiness
- Child and parent empowerment
- Increased chances of catching up developmentally to peers
Signs of Autism in Children Under 2
If you think your child may have autism, it’s important to act quickly and get them evaluated by a professional. Some of the early signs of autism in children under the age of two include:
- Lack of eye contact
- Failure to respond to their name
- No babbling or pointing by 14 months
- Inability to say single words or two word phrases
- Little to no response to caregiver smiling or facial expressions
- Stimming behavior such as flapping hands repeatedly
- Limited interest in playing with others
- Only interested in select objects and activities
- Rigid and repetitive behavior
Early diagnosis and intervention are critical for children with autism. If you think your child may have ASD, don’t wait to get them evaluated. Empower Behavioral Health provides in-person and virtual autism evaluations. Assuming your child qualifies for a diagnosis of autism, your child can begin early intervention ABA therapy at one of our centers across the state of Texas. We provide individualized treatment that fits the unique needs of your child. Contact us today to learn more and get started.