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  • Writer's pictureSarah Lewis, M.Ed., BCBA

When to Intervene

Updated: May 9, 2023

Early Intervention for Autism Spectrum Disorder

I have learned over the years that early intervention is critical to helping children with autism reach their full potential. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy is one of the most effective and evidence-based interventions for autism, particularly when implemented early in a child’s development while the gap between a child's skillset and his or her peers is relatively small.

ABA therapy is based on the principles of behavior analysis, which emphasizes the importance of using positive reinforcement to teach new skills and behaviors while minimizing or eliminating negative behaviors. ABA therapy is individualized and focuses on identifying and addressing the specific needs and challenges of each child with autism. This may include teaching communication, social, academic, and self-help skills, among others.

Early intervention is particularly important for children with autism because their brains are still developing, and they are more receptive to learning new skills and behaviors during this time. The earlier children receive ABA therapy, the better their outcomes will likely be. Studies have shown that children receiving early intensive ABA therapy significantly improve their cognitive, language, and adaptive functioning skills.

Playing with colors in Sauk Valley

One of the most significant benefits of early intervention with ABA therapy is that it can help children with autism develop the foundational skills they need to succeed in school and in life. For example, ABA therapy can help children learn how to communicate effectively, which is essential for academic success and building meaningful relationships. It can also help them learn how to regulate their emotions, manage their behavior, and navigate social situations, which are critical life skills.

Another benefit of early intervention with ABA therapy is that it can help reduce the severity of challenging behaviors often associated with autism. Many children with autism struggle with challenging behaviors such as aggression, self-injury, and tantrums. ABA therapy can help children learn new, appropriate behaviors to replace these challenging behaviors, which can significantly improve their quality of life and their ability to participate in activities with their peers and family.

Finally, early intervention with ABA therapy can help parents and caregivers learn how to support their child’s development and behavior positively and effectively. Parents and caregivers are essential partners in ABA therapy, and they can play a crucial role in helping their children generalize the skills they learn in therapy to their daily lives. By starting ABA therapy early, parents and caregivers can learn strategies and techniques to help their children succeed and build a strong foundation for their future.

Social play sociodramatic play skills training ABA therapy

If your child is past the "early intervention" years, there is still hope. While intervening earlier may be better, studies show that ABA therapy is effective for older children and even adults. Call us today to learn how we can help empower your child to reach new heights.

Disclaimer: this post does not contain treatment recommendations as a professional relationship has not been established. For children whom the Autism Center has not directly observed, there is not enough information to make any specific treatment recommendation as treatment recommendations would be based on a subjective report of the child’s behavior. Please contact us if you have any questions.

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