Understanding how to support a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is essential because the sooner a child receives help, the greater progress they can experience in treatment. ASD is a neurological condition that affects how a person develops, learns, behaves and interacts with others. It’s a spectrum disorder because each individual can experience different types and various degrees of symptoms.
With such a wide variety of strengths and challenges, children with autism need individualized support that meets their unique needs. Families and care providers must work together to observe children, identify their abilities and needs and tailor treatment to each child’s developmental goals. The Behavioral Innovations team created a guide to help you understand how to support your child with autism with a highly effective, compassionate therapy method. Download the PDF version of this guide to add this helpful content to your digital library.
As a parent or caregiver, understanding autism may seem challenging at first. Children show different signs at different developmental stages, so it can be difficult to determine if your child has autism and if they need additional support. People often misunderstand autism, and it can be easy to miss the signs if your child expresses mild ASD symptoms.
Learning what to look for enables you to recognize autism and seek a professional evaluation when necessary. Children may show various signs in their focus, communication, learning and socialization skills. They may also display repetitive behaviors or express focused interests. Since children’s brains are still developing, seeking support as early as possible is important. Early detection and intervention significantly increase positive outcomes, so we compiled a list of signs that can help you recognize when to seek an assessment and professional support.
Various types of support are available for children with autism, helping them develop important skills, increase independence and prepare for future success. Center-based and home-based applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy is based on behavioral research and the impact of positive reinforcement. ABA therapy aims to help children thrive and work toward developmental goals. In this guide, we explain how ABA therapy works and the different options available for your family.
Behavioral Innovations offers data-driven, compassionate ABA therapy. Our staff is made up of thoroughly screened, knowledgeable and experienced ABA therapists, and we collaborate with local physicians in each of our locations’ communities. We have been a leading ABA therapy provider for children with autism for over 20 years. Our goal is to help children with autism develop skills and reach their full potential while teaching parents how they can best support them.
We work closely with each family to assess children’s needs, develop individualized treatment plans and educate parents on how they can support their child at home. In this guide, we introduce our services, how they work and how they can help your child thrive. Learn more about our state-of-the-art facilities, Board-Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) and compassionate services to discover how we can help your child flourish.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a condition that affects the brain and can influence a child’s learning, social and communication skills. Understanding how to recognize ASD symptoms and seek a formal diagnosis is the first step in supporting a child with autism.
Autism is a developmental and neurological condition that can cause differences in the way individuals learn, communicate, behave and interact with peers. Children with autism may face challenges that other people don’t. ASD affects each person differently, so each child with autism faces different types of challenges. One child may show delays in social development but show advanced learning development, while another experiences challenges in their movement or learning.
Autism creates differences in a person’s brain, but researchers are unsure of the exact causes. Genetic conditions can cause autism, but professionals believe there may be multiple factors that can lead to it. The following factors may increase a child’s chances of having autism:
Autism can affect children of all races, ethnicities and genders, but it is more common in males. Approximately 1 in 36 children have an autism diagnosis, and it is four times more common in boys than in girls.
Professionals consider autism a spectrum disorder because symptoms and severity levels vary from person to person. Children may show different signs and degrees of symptoms, and one child may require more support than another for the same type of developmental delay.
There is a wide variety of symptoms and severity of symptoms individuals can experience, so it may be challenging for parents to recognize it at first. Noticing the following signs can help you determine if your child may benefit from an ASD screening and additional support:
Children with autism may display repetitive behaviors and have restrictive interests. The following are common symptoms:
Children with autism may also have difficulty communicating, socializing and interacting with others. Children with autism who find it challenging to socialize and interact with others may experience the following symptoms:
Children with autism can also show different strengths, such as the following:
Determining if your child has autism can be challenging due to varying levels of symptoms and the different ages children start to show signs. You can look for symptoms by paying attention to the developmental milestones for your child’s age, and you can seek professional support if you notice delays. Only a professional can provide an official diagnosis, but you can observe your child at home to look for possible indicators and get additional support when necessary.
Since children experience different levels and symptoms of autism, the age they begin to show signs also differs. Most children manifest symptoms between birth and 2 years of age. One child may show signs within their first 12 months, while another may do so around 24 months or after. Some children reach typical developmental milestones for their age until a certain point and then stop developing new skills once they turn 18 to 24 months old, but others stop gaining new skills past the 24-month mark.
If a child shows mild symptoms, parents may not recognize it right away. Some individuals’ autism symptoms are so mild that they reach their teenage or adult years without recognizing it or receiving a diagnosis.
Medical professionals analyze a child’s development and observe their behavior to make an ASD diagnosis. Making an official diagnosis can be challenging because there is no physical medical test, such as a blood draw, to detect it. A professional ASD diagnosis is most reliable when a child reaches 2 years of age or older, and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that every child should receive an autism screening due to the different degrees of symptoms that often go unnoticed.
Diagnosing a child early in life allows them to receive the support they need, but some individuals who show mild signs of autism receive a diagnosis much later in childhood or well into adulthood. If you suspect your child may have autism, getting a diagnosis as soon as possible can help them reach their goals and experience a greater quality of life as they grow and develop. If you talk to your health care provider about your child’s symptoms, they may perform a diagnosis in the following steps:
The goal of treating ASD is not to ‘cure’ it but to help children with autism flourish, reach their goals and develop skills to the best of their abilities. Early intervention is one of the best support systems for children with autism because it helps them work on important skills and functioning while their brains are in a vital developmental stage.
Autism is a lifelong condition, but services and treatment can help children thrive and improve their daily functioning. The following types of support for autism can help children reach their goals, thrive and live a fulfilling life:
Early intervention services provide children with the support they need to grow and develop to the best of their abilities. Early intervention benefits children with autism in the following ways:
If your child has autism, early intervention services can help them maintain important skills and develop new ones. The first three years of a child’s life are the most important years to seek support because of how much their brain develops during this formative time.
If you believe your child could benefit from early intervention, it’s important to reach out for help as soon as possible. Early intervention is essential if your child is under the age of 5 and one or more of the following factors apply:
Compassion, understanding and effective therapy are essential for supporting a child with autism. Applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy helps children increase independence, communication, socialization and cognitive skills while reducing behaviors that could harm others or themselves. A child’s environment significantly affects their learning and behavior, and ABA therapy looks closely at this factor to help children develop new skills to improve their overall well-being. It is a behavior-focused intervention that uses positive reinforcement to improve behavior and increase quality of life.
ABA therapy is one of the best strategies for supporting a child with autism because it uses evidence-based techniques and strategies to help children with daily functions. This human service intervention is similar to other services such as occupational therapy, speech therapy and educational support, but it focuses on the science of behavior and emphasizes behavior modification through positive reinforcement. ABA uses a strategic and systematic approach to implement interventions based on how people develop, learn and act.
Specialists, researchers and scientists have studied what motivates people to act in the ways they do. ABA therapy uses these discoveries to develop new ways for people to learn new skills and reach their goals. It uses practical interventions that individuals can use in their everyday life, making it incredibly beneficial. The primary goal of ABA therapy is to help improve a child’s quality of life, so it’s personalized to each child’s specific needs.
ABA therapy teaches children new skills, helping them become more independent and improve their social and communication capabilities. It also provides structure and support to help children modify challenging behaviors. ABA therapy’s focus on positive reinforcement makes it a highly effective approach that helps people reach their full potential.
If you enroll your child in ABA therapy, professionals individualize it to meet your child’s unique requirements. ABA specialists monitor your child’s progress and adjust treatment to ensure it is effective and continues to meet their needs. Consider the following applied behavior analysis examples to understand how it works:
The human brain is an incredible organ that enables people to adapt and develop new skills as they age. A child’s early years are the best time for them to work on increasing their skills and cognitive abilities because this is when the brain is in its most ‘plastic’ state. A child’s brain is still in its growing phase and developing many new neuronal connections. When a child receives ABA therapy early in life, it’s easier for them to grasp new concepts and information because of the brain’s more malleable state.
Children can have high-functioning or low-functioning autism. High-functioning autism typically has a low impact on a child’s daily functioning, meaning they can function in school and social situations fairly independently. Low-functioning autism significantly impacts a child’s functioning, meaning they require additional support for several daily functions.
A parent or caregiver may assume a child doesn’t need intervention if they have mild symptoms or high-functioning autism. However, supporting a child with high-functioning autism is just as important as supporting a child with low-functioning autism.
Understanding what kind of support is available for autism enables you to make beneficial decisions for your child. While ABA is an excellent treatment option, you must also consider what type of ABA therapy is best for your child. Consider the following ABA therapy options and their benefits:
Home-based and center-based therapy work together to help children thrive at home and at school or daycare. Behavioral Innovations offers a comprehensive ABA therapy approach to help children thrive in and outside of their homes. While home-based therapy is an excellent supplement to center-based therapy and essential to a comprehensive treatment plan, center-based therapy is the primary method of treatment. It offers the following benefits:
Home-based ABA therapy services engage parents in their child’s treatment. Parent training helps parents learn how to support their children at home, and it helps reinforce the skills and behaviors children develop during center-based therapy. You should include home-based ABA therapy in your child’s treatment plan because it offers the following benefits:
In addition to center-based and home-based therapy, you also have the option to enroll your child in full-time or part-time ABA therapy. Consider the differences to choose the best option for your family:
Full-time ABA therapy is typically 25-40 hours per week, making it the more consistent option that leaves fewer gaps between therapy sessions. When you enroll your child in full-time ABA therapy, their therapist can reinforce skills throughout the day. It’s intensive and consistent enough to result in greater outcomes, and it allows ABA specialists to address a wider variety of behaviors. Full-time therapy requires less parent involvement than part-time ABA therapy because therapists can reinforce skills throughout the entire day, but parent engagement is still important.
Part-time ABA therapy typically provides a few hours of therapy per week, making it a less consistent option with more gaps between sessions than full-time therapy. Part-time ABA therapy is beneficial, but children may experience slower progress than they would in full-time therapy. Due to limited time, therapists may need to limit part-time ABA therapy to focus on a few skills or behaviors. It typically requires more parent involvement to help children develop and generalize skills, and it provides fewer socialization opportunities.
A typical day in ABA therapy at Behavioral Innovations looks like this:
Families who have a child with autism typically spend approximately $60,000 per year caring for their child. Most of these expenses families face are reduced income due to additional parental responsibilities and the specialized services their children need.
When caring for a child with autism, financial support is available in various forms. Many insurance companies will cover ABA therapy to an extent because they consider it to be medically necessary. State-funded insurance typically covers the full ABA therapy costs, while private insurance companies offer benefits that can help cover part of the ABA therapy cost. If parents need additional help paying for ABA therapy, they can search for scholarships intended to help children with autism.
Children with developmental disabilities deserve compassionate support as they reach for their goals and improve their quality of life. The autism spectrum is wide, and each child has unique needs. One therapy method does not fit every child, so Behavioral Innovations works to create a treatment plan that works best for each child’s age, abilities, interests and goals.
Behavioral Innovations’ vision is to help all children reach their full potential. We strive to create a community that supports children with this goal in mind, and the following qualities enable us to provide each child with the physical, emotional, educational and mental health support they deserve:
The Behavioral Innovations team has over 20 years of ABA experience. Our BCBAs receive continuous training and attend company-wide events to learn about the latest developments in the behavioral therapy field. As a company founded by experienced BCBAs, we are dedicated to providing your child with the highest-quality treatment possible at each stage of their development.
BCBAs thoroughly asses your child during ABA therapy, evaluating their functioning and behavior to determine the most helpful goals and treatment strategies. The Behavioral Innovations team has the knowledge and experience to recognize a child’s needs and determine the best ways to help them thrive at home and in their upcoming life pursuits.
Skilled therapists at Behavioral Innovations provide compassionate therapy. We accept each child for who they are and carefully guide them to work toward their goals. When your child works with a Behavioral Innovations therapist, they can build skills confidently and reach milestones that improve their quality of life. Our therapists also encourage each child to pursue help when they need it, helping them develop the communication skills and confidence to seek support throughout their lives when necessary.
At Behavioral Innovations, we only hire individuals who have the skills, aptitude and desire to work with children with ASD. We carefully screen each employee to ensure they match our vision and dedication, and we work hard to maintain team continuity by keeping a core group of therapists and clinicians on staff. We strive to ensure the therapist who works with your child is available and with them on a consistent basis. When your child receives therapy at Behavioral Innovations, they can build a relationship with a therapist they trust and find comfort in seeing a familiar face each day.
We include parents and caregivers in a child’s learning and progress. Communicating with parents and holding regular meetings enables us to keep parents updated on their child’s progress and helps you understand how to support your child effectively. During your child’s assessment and therapy planning process, you can work with your child’s therapist to determine how many times you will meet during your child’s time with us.
At Behavioral Innovations, your child receives support tailored to their requirements. In addition to an individualized treatment plan, your child works with a therapist in an individualized therapy room that suits their needs. We design our therapy rooms to meet various learning styles, strengths, preferences and abilities, and we take great measures to ensure your child’s learning space is ideal for them. Our welcoming, safe and supportive environment also provides your child with opportunities to socialize and boost their communication skills. It offers your child a comfortable, structured space to work on therapy goals, but it also exposes them to natural experiences and social situations they may encounter outside of your home and therapy.
Applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy is a research-based and highly effective type of support for children with autism. Providing your child with ABA therapy is one of the most beneficial steps you can take in helping them develop, discover their greatest potential and increase their independence in various areas.
Our compassionate, experienced intake team guides each family through our enrollment process to ensure it’s as smooth as possible. If your child needs ABA therapy, you can learn more about our services and enroll your child at Behavioral Innovations with the following steps:
Supporting a child with autism at home is just as important as the support they receive in a therapy center. Parent involvement is essential for a child’s success and development. Behavioral Innovations provides parent training services to help parents learn how to support their children’s ABA therapy progress and manage behaviors. Children, parents and families benefit from parent training because it teaches family members how to carry positive reinforcement into the home, helping children reach their goals, develop new skills and improve their overall well-being.
While caregivers work closely with children in our facilities, ABA therapy is much more effective and only fully successful when parents know how to create a supportive environment and reinforce positive behavior at home. Behavioral Innovations’ parent training services assess each child’s unique challenges and educate parents on how to maintain continuity and consistency between their children’s center-based therapy and home routines.
Our goal is to ensure each child and their family feel comfortable before, during and after treatment. We equip our facilities with the following features:
Behavioral Innovations specialists work with insurance companies to secure authorizations and provide families with a smooth process. We accept most major insurance plans, such as the following in-network options:
Browse the following frequently asked questions to learn more about our services:
At Behavioral Innovations, we provide therapy for children between the ages of 18 months and 10 years. ABA therapy is most effective when a child starts receiving it during their toddler years, but your child can also benefit from starting it if they are older than a toddler. No matter how old your child is, it’s essential to request an assessment and start intervention as soon as you notice any developmental delays.
Our therapists are exceptionally experienced and qualified. Our team consists of Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs) and BCBAs. We require each staff member to complete extensive training, keep up with current best practices and update their knowledge of the latest research in the field. This commitment to excellence enables us to provide the best services possible and ensure your child receives the support they need to thrive.
Our ABA therapy services have resulted in high success rates and positive outcomes. However, a child’s level of success depends on several factors such as parent engagement, therapy session consistency, a child’s symptoms severity and how they respond to therapy. You can increase your child’s level of success by learning how to best support them at home, communicating regularly with their BCBA and paying attention to progress updates.
ABA therapy service costs vary based on the services and specific programs children need. We work with you to explore your options and provide a hassle-free experience, and we accept most major insurance plans.
Behavioral Innovations provides one-on-one ABA therapy. However, we may introduce your child to other children in the facility if they decide that social skills are a primary target goal. In this situation, your child’s therapist monitors their interactions with other children just as they do in one-on-one therapy.
If your child has autism, ABA therapy can help improve their overall well-being and quality of life. ABA therapy focuses on a child’s environment and how it affects their behavior, and ABA therapists use encouragement and positive reinforcement to help your child develop essential skills. Behavioral Innovations offers ABA therapy and parent training services to ensure children receive the support they need in structured and familiar environments.
The therapists at Behavioral Innovations are board-certified and have the knowledge and experience to treat your child compassionately and effectively. While ABA therapy success rates vary, we strive to work closely with each family to bring about the most positive outcomes possible. At Behavioral Innovations, your child can work toward developmental target goals in a structured environment, reduce harmful behaviors, explore new experiences, grow and increase independence.
The ABA therapy team at Behavioral Innovations works closely with your family to facilitate smooth processes, assess your child’s specific needs and create a treatment plan that matches their abilities, strengths and goals. Our intake team can help you choose the best financial option, and a board-certified behavioral analyst will complete a diagnostic evaluation to determine which ABA methods will help your child reach the best outcomes. Contact us to learn more and speak with a member of our team about enrolling your child.
The Behavioral Innovations team thanks you for downloading this guide on supporting children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We compiled this information to help you understand autism, learn about the latest behavioral therapy innovations and make the best decisions for your child. As a parent or caregiver of a child with autism, you want to help them reach their full potential, live a fulfilling life, discover their strengths and develop confidence.
In this guide, you will find information about how to recognize autism and its symptoms, what ages children start to show signs, how health care providers and therapists diagnose autism and how applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy can help a child develop skills and independence.
Finding the right support for a child with autism can make a significant difference in their life, so it’s important to seek the most innovative methods and compassionate therapists. Our hope is that you will gain more understanding and confidence about caring for a child in your family with autism. Contact Behavioral Innovations to learn more about our services and start the enrollment process.