Having a child with autism can present many challenges. One of the main concerns is how to help them function in society while being healthy and happy. They have a hard time understanding the world they live in and are often fearful of things they encounter every day. To help them enjoy life instead of being afraid of it, therapy is extremely important.
Therapy helps them re-learn crucial elements of development that were missed. It helps them with sensory integration, and social skills. They learn to better verbalize their thoughts and feelings. Whether the child has classic autism or Asperger Syndrome, he can benefit from therapy. Tailoring therapy to the child's needs is the most effective way to help a child with autism.
In many areas, therapy is hard to obtain. Many therapy programs only provide sessions for one or two days a week, lasting an average of two hours. This is not enough time to effectively work with a child autism. They need therapy to be incorporated into daily life to get the most benefit. This can only be done at home, with the parents doing the therapy. Therapy outside of the home can help, but in many situations, this isn't available. Parents can learn to do their own home therapy with a little research and a lot of commitment.
One of the top choices for therapy at home is Developmental, Individual Difference, Relationship-based (DIR®/Floortime™) Model. This method helps parents learn to tailor therapy sessions to the needs of the child. It is the most basic form of therapy and can be a great tool for helping a child learn speech. Using this approach, a parent can incorporate all types of therapy, such as speech, sensory integration, play therapy, occupational therapy and emotional therapy. Many times, a child is resistant to therapy because it takes her out of her comfort zone. This therapy method allows the parent to use hand-over-hand techniques to introduce the child to new sensory stimulation, until the child learns she is safe and can play without fear.
Sensory integration/processing therapy
This is one of the most crucial therapies for a child on the autism spectrum. Many parents have found that improvement happens very quickly when the direct problems of the sensory system are addressed. Helping the brain re-learn how to properly read input from the senses helps a child to lose his fear of sensory stimulation, encouraging him to engage in the world he previously wanted to hide from. The website Sensory Processing Disorder is a great tool to aide parents with sensory therapy. Two books can guide parents through the process of understanding how sensory integration plays a part in symptoms of autism, as well as lists simple therapeutic games designed by professional therapists to help children: "The Out of Sync Child" and "The Out of Sync Child Has Fun."
The Son-rise program
This technique was born as two parents struggled to help their severely autistic child. He was considered beyond help and they could not find a therapist to work with him. So, they designed their own therapy. It worked so well for him (he is now extremely high functioning), they offered parents the opportunity to learn how to use the Son-Rise program in their own homes. The key to this form of therapy is to work with the child, meeting her where she is at, helping her feel comfortable in her own world. This gives the child confidence to venture out, allowing the parent to work with her when she are open to it. Many parents have successfully instituted this therapy simply by reading the book that was written by the father entitled "Son-Rise", written before the therapy program was made known to the world.
Applied behavior analysis
This therapy, known as ABA, is a chosen form of therapy by many parents of children with autism. It train the child to follow commands, systematically targeting the main issues faced by children on the spectrum. Many have seen significant improvement in their kids by implementing this popular therapy. However, many parents performing their own therapy aren't happy with it. Their concerns center around feelings that ABA teaches kids to be robotic, simply performing the commands without understanding why they are being told to do these tasks, or how to implement these lessons into every day situations.
While this is not conclusive list of therapies used in the home, they are the most common. Every child is different, and therapy needs to be tailored to the individual for it to be effective. Often, it's necessary to do a combination of therapies to get the best results. Loving a child is a parent's best credential for implementing therapy at home. Nobody knows the child better than the parents. Nobody is as invested in helping that child function with the least amount of limitations as the parents are.