Developing an ASD program for your child

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Information about the components of a good treatment program for autism spectrum disorder.

Key points

  • Studies show that children with ASD respond well to highly structured, specialized education programs.
  • An effective program may include behavioural teaching, communication therapy, training in social skills development, sensory motor therapy.
  • A program should be constantly changing to teach appropriate social communication needed at every stage of development.
  • You know your child best and your understanding of your child is important to develop a program that will effectively meet their needs.

Information about autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is growing fast. You may find it difficult to know which programs and services are the best for your child. No single treatment offers the solution. But studies show that children with ASD respond well to highly structured, specialized education programs that meet the specific needs of the child.

An effective program may have the following characteristics:

  • behavioural teaching
  • communication therapy
  • training in social skills development
  • sensory motor therapy

Researchers have found that a structured, intensive educational and behavioural program is best for treating the more severe challenges of some children with ASD. In this type of program, the child usually works one on one with a teacher or in a small group.

An effective program should be flexible and reward the child for socially motivated communication, such as vocalizing and making eye contact with you when playing a game. The program should be constantly changing to teach the appropriate social communication skills needed at every stage of development. It should be supervised by someone who has a very good understanding of ASD and its treatment.

An effective program also offers training and support for parents, other caregivers, and teachers. Often it can be difficult for the family, classroom teacher, or other caregivers to help a child with ASD effectively without some training. They also need to be able to talk to a person who specializes in ASD and its treatment.

Remember, no one knows your child better than you do. Your opinions and understanding of your child are important to the development of an effective program that will meet your child’s needs.

The Resources for ASD section can provide you with contacts to help you develop your child's ASD program.

Last updated: March 9th 2009