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importance of early autism therapy

Early Intervention: The Importance of Early Autism Therapy

Although autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects many children and adults around the world, it can be hard to detect and diagnose. This is because it manifests and presents in everyone a little differently. In some children, signs can start showing as early as 12-18 months, but some don’t present any difficulties until much later.

However, the earlier ASD is diagnosed in a child, the better; not only in the short term, but long-term as well. This is because learning how to cope with and navigate the various difficulties and symptoms can take time – and becomes more difficult if someone develops bad habits, patterns, anxieties, etc.

Read on to learn more about early intervention and the benefits of starting ASD therapy young.

Detecting Autism

Although every person is unique and may deal with different symptoms, there are some universal signs you can look out for as your child grows. These things include:

  • Noticeable lack of eye contact
  • Not responding when their name is called
  • Not understanding basic gestures like waving to say goodbye or hello
  • Repeating words or phrases excessively or obsessively
  • Struggling with changes in their routine
  • Fixating heavily on certain objects
  • Repeating movements excessively, such as flapping their arms

These are some basic signs you can use as a guideline. If you have any concerns or questions whatsoever about your child’s behaviour or condition, it never hurts to call your doctor and inquire.

What is Early Intervention?

Early intervention can encompass a variety of therapies including speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and more. What your child needs will depend on the severity of their condition and their specific symptoms and struggles.

The sooner any of these are started, however, the better. Most forms of therapy can be designed to work together to further benefit your child, as well. This is one reason early intervention is crucial – you can address everything they may need at once.

Early intervention also stresses the importance of parents and/or caregivers being involved in the process. When you’re kept up to speed with your child’s progress, you can continue helping them at home and anywhere else you go. You can also work on additional exercises and activities at home to supplement therapy sessions.

Benefits of Early Child Autism Therapy

Autism therapy is available at any age and any stage, but much research has been done over the years that shows early intervention offers the most positive long-term outcome.

Improves Social Skills

Children begin socializing outside of the family as early as two or three years old depending on when they start school or pre-school. Those with ASD often have trouble socializing as they can struggle to express themselves and understand cues from others.

Early intervention will address this head-on and right away. Your child will start learning how to better socialize as soon as they begin experiencing it, and this will follow them as they grow older and meet more and more people.

Improves Speech and Communication

Whether it’s a mental block or a physical impairment, many with ASD struggle with speech and effective communication. Through both physical and speech therapy, we can help them stay on the right developmental track.

Exercises can include pronunciation help, activities to strengthen movements and muscles, and more. When your child can communicate, even at a young age, they can express their needs and desires while setting healthy boundaries around others.

Creates Independence

Although it can be challenging, many people with ASD can live independently. By starting your child in the proper therapy and activities early in life, you give them a better chance at proper independence.

This not only involves living on their own someday, but navigating the world as they grow up. Situations will come up at school and with others where a strong sense of independence and the proper life skills will help them immensely.

creates independence

Creates Coping and Self-Regulating Tools

ASD often makes it difficult for children to self-regulate. They may have trouble understanding certain things and situations, while they hyper-fixate on others. It can also be incredibly hard when things don’t go their way. This can create frustration, stress, and anxiety if they don’t know what to do.

An autism spectrum therapist will help your child learn healthy coping skills they’ll carry with them as they grow up. Learning how to self-regulate early will save the stress, frustration, and difficulty that comes with only starting therapy later in life.

Strengthens Family Relationships

The bonds between parent and child and between siblings are important to everyone as children grow up. By addressing your child’s ASD early and being involved yourself, you’ll learn everything you need to know about how your child functions and what they need. This allows you to empathize and helps you help them.

This understanding will strengthen your bond, and you can help their siblings understand as well (if applicable).

Improves Overall Development

Living with ASD creates many challenges and difficulties that can greatly impair a child’s learning and development. Early intervention gives them the best chance at keeping up with their peers and developing at an appropriate rate.

A child’s brain develops quickly during early childhood, meaning early intervention and proper autism behaviour therapy will give them the best head start in life. They’ll be able to cope and function better in school, therefore learning better and retaining more information. Early development of social skills will help them navigate relationships for the rest of their lives.

Give Your Child the Best Start

Autism affects many children, but with proper autism therapy and the right support, any child can thrive. Early intervention is crucial as their brain is developing and taking in new things so quickly. You may start noticing signs as early as a year old, but many children don’t show signs until later. The earlier you can start autism therapy the better, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re at all worried. You can contact us at any time with questions or concerns and we’ll be happy to speak with you about all your options.

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