Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a common developmental disorder in children. It causes difficulties with social interaction, communication, and can result in restricted, repetitive behaviors. It's a condition that affects not just the person with the disorder but also their loved ones.
In recent years, research has supported the idea that early intervention is a powerful way to ease many of these challenges. Early intervention is help offered at the earliest stages of autism. It is based on the idea that young brains are very flexible, so the younger the person is, the more learning is likely to take place.
As an experienced pediatric neurologist in Brooklyn, New York, Dr. Henry Hasson has witnessed firsthand the immense benefits of early intervention in autism.
In this article, he examines how early intervention helps children with Autism in five main areas.
Nurturing social skills
Children with Autism often struggle with social interaction, which can lead to isolation. However, early intervention programs help these children develop crucial social skills.
Activities like play-based therapy can help kids learn how to initiate interaction, take turns, express emotions, and interpret nonverbal cues. These invaluable skills can significantly improve their ability to form meaningful connections with friends, family, and others in their social circles.
One of the challenging aspects of autism is difficulty with communication. Some children struggle with verbal expression, while others struggle to understand language nuances.
Early intervention uses techniques like speech therapy, sign language, or assistive technology devices to tackle these challenges. Dr. Hasson focuses on building these skills early, ensuring children can effectively convey their thoughts and needs, reducing frustration, and improving their interactions.
Early intervention goes beyond just improving social and communication skills — it also focuses on enhancing the learning capabilities of children with Autism.
These programs provide tailored learning strategies that consider your child's unique strengths and challenges. With specialized educational approaches, such as applied behavior analysis (ABA), early intervention can help these children make significant strides in cognitive development, equipping them with the necessary tools for academic success in the future.
Controlling negative behaviors
Children with Autism often exhibit negative or disruptive behaviors as a result of their difficulty in processing sensory information or dealing with routine changes.
Early intervention targets these behaviors, teaching children coping mechanisms and self-regulation skills. The aim is not to suppress, but to manage, these behaviors, transforming them into positive expressions and responses.
For instance, if your child gets upset with sudden changes, a simple breathing exercise to calm them helps them react better to unexpected situations.
The ultimate goal of early intervention is to foster independence in children. By tackling Autism's core challenges early and leveraging the young brain's plasticity, early intervention programs help children achieve self-sufficiency in day-to-day tasks.
Your child may start by learning to dress themselves and, with time and assistance, learn more complex tasks like preparing a simple meal. Over time, they become capable of caring for their hygiene, pursuing hobbies, and even preparing for jobs.
With autism, the best time to intervene is at the first signs, but it's never too late to start. Let us help you manage your child's autism by booking an appointment with us online or calling 718-785-9828 today.