Are You Concerned That Your Child May Have Autism Spectrum Disorder?
- Does your child struggle socially or exhibit rigid and/or repetitive behaviors?
- Is your child struggling to initiate or respond to social interactions or having difficulty maintaining eye contact?
- Does you child often line up his or her toys or insist on playing with the same things everyday?
- Are you constantly sticking to the same routine in an attempt to avoid meltdowns?
- Are you out of ideas on how to improve your child’s behavior and feel exhausted, tense and frustrated?
- Do you wish you better understood your child’s experience and knew how to best support him or her in all aspects of development and in life?
Over the past decade the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has dramatically increased. It is not unusual for parents of children with ASD to feel stressed, depressed and simply out of answers. Children diagnosed with ASD often vary greatly in their language abilities, school performance, behavior and social skills. For example, some children have limited language and social interaction skills, while others are highly adept at language but struggle to socialize and communicate with others. Often due to limited language skills and difficulty socializing, children with ASD struggle integrating into a group of people and making friends. It is not uncommon for them to engage in challenging behavior, such as yelling or hitting when they are stressed or uncomfortable. This makes taking children with ASD out in public settings or introducing them to new situations extremely stressful and often discouraging for the family.
Determining if Your Child has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
ASD is a diagnostic category used to describe children who struggle with social interaction and communication and exhibit restrictive and repetitive patterns of behaving and thinking.
If you are concerned that your child may have ASD, one of our experienced child psychologists can meet with you and your child to review history, development and current concerns. Many times it is also necessary to assess your child’s cognitive ability, language skills, attention, memory, motor skills and/or academic achievement. Each evaluation is tailored to best meet the needs of your child. Upon completion of the evaluation we will review the results with you and provide a detailed report, including an individualized treatment plan and any referrals necessary.
An Autism Treatment Plan to Support Your Child and Family
The psychologists at Innovative Psychological Solutions will work with your family and often outside service providers (e.g., ABA therapists, speech therapists) to develop a comprehensive treatment plan. Our treatment plans are designed to help your child thrive in home, school and social settings, as well as to support you and your family.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there is no single best treatment for all children with ASD, but there are many common features of effective early intervention programs. The first step is to start intervention services as soon as possible. There are many treatment options, social service programs and other resources that can help. Our experienced child psychologists use developmentally appropriate approaches to help you respond to your child’s most challenging behaviors. We often use Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) to rebuild your relationship with your child and teach him or her the skills to improve self-control, ability to follow commands and how to respond to directions and parent feedback. Often children who exhibit challenging behaviors miss opportunities to engage with peers, family members, teachers and other service providers. One of the primary goals at Innovative Psychological Solutions is to improve your child’s behavior and ability to cope with difficult situations. This can lead to enhanced school performance and reduce family stress. It also allows your child to participate in more activities and treatment programs designed to help him or her reach full potential.
We use autism treatment approaches that empower you as a parent and provide you with support. We recognize the needs of the entire family, and will thus equip you with education, tools and strategies to reduce stress and undue strain. Your therapist will teach you practical strategies that can be used on a daily basis. You will develop skills to help your child better cope with transitions, self-regulate his or her emotions and improve relationships with family and peers. Often children with ASD require multiple types of interventions, and we will help you navigate the best services to address your child’s individual needs.
But, you still may have questions or concerns about autism treatment….
I am afraid that my child will be labeled.
This is a very common concern and completely understandable. Our goal is not to label your child, but rather to provide you with a clear understanding of your child’s social, academic and behavioral strengths and weaknesses. The information gathered from the testing is designed to help empower you and others working with your child to better meet his or her needs. Research shows that the earlier any potential weaknesses are identified and addressed the better the long-term outcomes.
Will my child require special education or medication?
Based on the results of the evaluation, we will work with you, your child’s school and often outside services providers (e.g., pediatrician, speech pathologist) to ensure that your child receives school accommodations and treatment services designed to help him or her thrive in school and home settings. Treatment plans look different for every child. Some children may require significant intervention and special education accommodations while others may need little or no intervention. At Innovative Psychological Solutions, we will help you determine if your child is autistic and what interventions are needed. We may also find that your child does not meet the diagnostic criteria for autism. If so, we will work with you to develop strategies to improve your child’s behavior and reduce the stress on the family.
At this point, there is no medication designed to treat autism. Children with autism are sometimes prescribed medication to address secondary behaviors, such as aggression or hyperactivity.
How do I know if my child really even needs therapy or testing?
As parents we all want our children to achieve their maximum potential. If you suspect that your child may be on the autism spectrum, seeking an assessment and treatment as early as possible can lead to the best long-term results. We work diligently to ensure we meet the individual needs of your child, and would be happy to meet with you and discuss your specific concerns so you can make an informed decision about how to proceed.
Please call 703-273-2198 to request more information about autism spectrum disorder, autism treatment and our practice or schedule a free consultation appointment.