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Behavioral Therapists for Children with Autism

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Behavioral therapy describes types of therapy that treat mental health disorders. Through this therapy, it is aimed to identify and help change harmful or unhealthy behaviors. Behavioral therapy is based on the idea that all behaviors are learned. This means that unhealthy or potentially self-destructive behaviors can be changed. The therapy focuses on problem behaviors and how to change them into positive ones.

There is no cure for autism. However, certain interventions and therapies can be used to manage or even diminish the symptoms. Typically, behavioral and speech-language therapies are the foundation of the intervention. However, there is no single therapy that works across the board for all children. Behavioral therapy is still the most proven approach for children with autism. It is usually the main tool at hand to develop as well as polish social skills. Figuring out which approach to take can be quite a challenge for parents and caregivers when it comes to behavioral therapy. Behavior interventions are proven to be both effective and safe. However, it can be costly in the long term, as well as labor-intensive. There are also various types of behavioral therapies. Selecting the one that would be most suitable could cause stress. There is no magic wand to figure out what type of behavioral therapy best matches your child.

Early intervention by a team of specialists is critical for a child with an  autism spectrum disorder. This team may include a psychologist, a speech and language therapist, and an occupational or physical therapist. Through intensive treatment, these specialists can help your child to develop age-appropriate language, social, and behavior skills.

Most children with autism spectrum disorder benefit from targeted treatment of language deficits and behavior. This may include educational therapy, speech and language therapy, motor skills development, and play and socialization with peers. Early, intensive, and structured education can help children learn how to talk and communicate, play interactively, and care for themselves.

Young children with autism spectrum disorder are often taught language, social, and other skills through the use of an intensive, one-on-one therapy called applied behavioral analysis. This treatment focuses on giving children short, simple tasks and then rewarding them when they complete the task.

This therapy is broken down into three small steps. First, the therapist gives clear instruction to the child and may provide a prompt by demonstrating or physically guiding the response. Next, the child responds by performing a behavior. Finally, the therapist demonstrates the consequence, which can include positive reinforcement, if the child has correctly performed the desired behavior, or no reaction if the child has not responded as desired.

Specialists provide the child with many opportunities or trials in structured teaching situations and in the course of everyday activities. As the child progresses, the therapist systematically phases out the guidance and prompts, promoting his or her independence. As a child masters the steps, he or she learns to combine these in more complex ways and to practice them in more situations.

Therapists do not reinforce undesirable behaviors or those that interfere with learning and social skills. The goal of applied behavioral analysis is to reduce undesirable behaviors by removing the trigger from the child’s environment. Positive reinforcement is used to teach the child different behaviors.

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