The term ASD is used to describe a group of disorders which include autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. The term ‘spectrum’ is used because the characteristics of the condition vary hugely from one person to the next. Autism Spectrum Disorder affects communication, social interactions and patterns of behaviour.
A child with ASD struggles with :
- Communication : They may have very limited or no spoken language. They may have a large vocabulary, but never use those words to communicate the way we do.
- Social interactions : They may completely ignore those around them or if they do try to make friends, struggle to know how to interact with them.
- Repetitive or ritualistic behaviour : They may have very few items they like to play with and the items they do play with may be atypical.
The play that they do engage in may be repetitive. They also may have certain ‘rituals’ that they like to do, or specific sequence of behaviours that they like to perform, and may become very upset if their routine changes or if they are unable to complete the set sequence of behaviours.
The causes of ASD are still unknown and research is ongoing. However, research suggests that genetic factors may be involved and there is also some evidence to show that the condition may be linked to environmental factors, such as pollution or viruses. It currently looks as though there may be various environmental factors which trigger a genetic predisposition leading to autism.
Helping your child with ASD
Many families who first come to us believe that they have to resign themselves to a lifetime of their child struggling with the behaviours and problems commonly associated with ASD. One of our first tasks with a new family is to dispel some of the myths surrounding ASD, providing them with accurate, up to date and scientifically validated information.
Research advances in the field of ASD have been significant in recent years and we now know the best way of teaching children with autism, developmental delays and acquired conditions. This is Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) and, in particular, Verbal Behaviour (VB).
NETwork Interventions specialises in Verbal Behaviour and has years of experience of helping children with ASD learn new communication, social and language skills and replace problem behaviours with healthy, age appropriate behaviour patterns. Many of the children we work with progress so well that they become indistinguishable from their peers and even those who don’t can still make significant gains.
What results can I expect?
Every child is different and two children with the same diagnosis may have very different struggles, skills and motivations. Even a child who is severely affected by ASD can make significant progress, resulting in vast improvements in behaviour, communication and quality of life. Some children progress so well that they learn to behave and interact just like other children of the same age, making them indistinguishable from children with normal developmental processes. Other children progress at a slower rate but are nonetheless equipped with the tools to overcome their struggles and reach their unique potential.
Some of the results you can expect to see include:
- Improvements in language and communication skills, giving them the ability to tell you what they want and need which reduces frustration and increases the quality of the time you spend together.
- Improvements in social skills, reducing feelings of isolation and helping build friendships and making for a happier, more confident child.
- Improvements in behaviour and ability to follow instructions, resulting in more invites to parties and play dates, improved performance at school and better relationships with children and adults alike.
The results you can expect from the interventions will vary according to a number of factors, including your child’s age, how severely they are affected by ASD and your availability and determination to implement the recommendations day in day out.
Following an in depth assessment and observation of your child, we will discuss the results you can expect to see, along with the time scales and costs involved for successful implementation. Whether your child’s programme lasts one month or one year, you can rest assured that we’ll be with you every step of the way, equipping you with the knowledge, training and support to make it work.
Did you know?
Many parents, when we first meet them, tell us they have given up and feel like their child may never “be like other children”. Our experience tells us better. NETwork Interventions has worked with many children who make such remarkable progress that other people cannot tell that they have a diagnosis of autism. They learn to interact and behave in a way that makes them indistinguishable from other children of the same age.
Seeing families’ hope restored and the achievement of the dreams that they have for their child is NETwork’s ultimate goal.