to say the least. That is how most parents feel when they begin to suspect that their child might have an autistic spectrum disorder. There are several autistic spectrum disorders currently identified: Autism; Asperger's syndrom; Pervasive Development Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified.
Those labels usually mean that some fundamental ability to relate and communicate is affected. In addition, your child's ability to speak and understand language may be affected. Many of children with autistic spectrum disorders are hypersensitive. Imagine, how difficult it is to be closed in your own world and trying to make sense of the confusing and overwhelming environment! Your child may manifest her continuous frustration through heavy tantrums and aggression. She may try to minimize her frustration by being extremely withdrawn and detached, so that it becomes more and more difficult to interact and relate to her, to engage and excite her, to help her play and learn. The label AUTISTIC SPECTRUM DISORDER points at some fundamental difficulty that your child has, but it does not describe your child. This label says nothing of her specific way to respond to sounds, lights and touch. This label says nothing about how she usually plays and what excites her. Does she like hugs and kisses? Does she run away when you try to approach her? Does she cry when you leave or does she not pay any attention to your comings and goings? The label does not say anything about how cute, sweet and vulnerable she is.
In my practice, I help the parents move beyond the specific label and develop an individual profile for each child. Once the assessment is complete and the individual profile is developed, a specific treatment course is designed to address your child's individual needs.
For example, DIR FLOOR TIME will be used for a relatable child with language difficulties and problems responding to non-verbal cues. An Applied Behavioral Analysis with carefully designed reinforcements is highly effective for teaching specific skills. As your child makes progress, Play Therapy and specific Cognitive Learning tasks will be added to the treatment course.
Those individually designed treatment programs will be catered toward developmental needs of your child. With the correctly designed intervention, your child will learn to manifest her attachment to you and express her interest in the world. She will increase her time engaged in meaningful, deliberate playing. She will respond to language and non-verbal cues. In other words, she will start climbing the developmental ladder that all children have to climb. Her particular speed and the degree of progress will depend on specific biological causes that underlie her behaviour; however, with the correct intervention, most children make progress and move along the spectrum. The progress of your child will be carefully monitored and the treatment program will be continuously adjusted and recalibrated to address the changing needs of your child as she makes progress.