Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) generally describes a cluster of complex brain development disorders. These disorders are characterized by challenges in social interaction, communication, and repetitive behaviors. The autism spectrum includes autistic disorder, Rett syndrome, and Asperger syndrome.
Although ASD can be regarded as an intellectual disability, many of those with autism spectrum have extraordinary abilities in arts and academic skills. Approximately 40 percent are intellectually above average and take pride in their unique ability to see the world in a different lens.
Autism Symptoms and Signs
Abnormal Body Posturing or Facial Expressions
Abnormal Tone of Voice
Avoidance of Eye Contact or Poor Eye Contact
Deficits in Language Comprehension
Delay in Learning to Speak
Flat or Monotonous Speech
Inappropriate Social Interaction
Intense Focus on One Topic
Lack of Empathy
Lack of Understanding Social Cues
Learning Disability or Difficulty
Not Engaging in Play With Peers
Preoccupation With Specific Topics
Problems With Two-Way Conversation
Repeating Words or Phrases
Unusual Reactions in Social Settings
Using Odd Words or Phrases
Therapies that can help treat autism
Types of Therapy Used for Autism
These activities help children with autism get better at everyday tasks, like learning to button a shirt or hold a fork properly. But it can involve anything related to school, work or play. The focus depends on the child’s needs and goals.
This helps children with speaking, as well as communicating and interacting with others. It can involve non-verbal skills, like making eye contact, taking turns in a conversation, and using and understanding gestures. It might also teach kids to express themselves using picture symbols, sign language, or computers.
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)
This type of therapy uses rewards to reinforce positive behaviors and teach new skills. Parents and other caregivers are trained so they can give the autistic child moment-by-moment feedback.
Treatment goals are based on the individual. They might include communication, social skills, personal care, and school work. Studies show children who receive early, intensive ABA can make big, lasting gains.
Play therapy was originally conceived as a tool for providing psychotherapy to young people coping with trauma, anxiety, and mental illness. In that context, play becomes a way for children to act out their feelings and find coping mechanisms.
This type of play therapy is still popular; however, it is not the same thing as play therapy as used for children with autism.
Many specialists offering something called "play therapy" to children with autism are actually providing something akin to Floortime Therapy. Floortime is a play-based technique which builds on autistic children's own interests or obsessions to develop relationships and social/communication skills. The Play Project is another therapeutic approach which uses play as a tool for building skills in autistic children. Like floortime, it builds on children's own interests.
How to choose the right therapist
It is not only important to conduct research on therapists, but to also research and familiarize yourself with the types of therapies that are offered. Common types of therapy include individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, and couples therapy.
2. Look for experience.
If you are seeing a therapist for a particular issue, look for therapists who have experience in that area.
3. Try to make an early connection.
See if the therapist you are interested in offers consultations. This provides an opportunity for you to ask questions and get a general “feel” of the therapist.
4. Check licensing and insurance.
All therapists are not licensed and this is okay. However, if you choose to see a licensed therapist, check their license. You can contact your state licensing board to see if your therapist’s license is current and if it is in good standing.
5. Never settle.
If you are not comfortable with the therapist you have chosen, do not feel bad about changing therapists. You may need to see a few before you find the therapist that is the right fit for you.
Collaborative Therapeutic Services (CTS) seeks to maximize clients’ options by offering a variety of services, hours, and service providers with diverse specializations. We offer evening & weekend appointments. Have questions? Contact Us Here or Call 813-951-7346. Located in Tampa, Florida.