Friday, November 16, 2007

What Therapy/Intervention is best? Is there a "Gold Standard" for Autism Treatment?

What Therapy/Intervention is best? Is there a "Gold Standard" for Autism Treatment?

I get asked this question a lot because so many of us really do not know what they should be asking for (or insisting upon) and what is agreed to be a "Good" program. The gold standard is based upon where the most "data" has been collected and recorded that proves their impact on people with ASD. Other therapies that have helped children including Floortime and RDI should not be eliminated because they are newer or lack sufficient data by "Gold Standard" measurement, however you may not be able to get them funded.

The experts agree that a successful Early Intervention Program, designed to insure the best outcomes should be intensive and consist of the following:

Speech Therapy - One on One, 2x per week for 50 minutes each session
Occupational Therapy - One on One, 2x per week for 50 minutes (with heavy equipment as needed)
Social Skills - Small Group Settings 1 or 2x per week with typically developing peers
ABA, Applied Behavioral Analysis One on One 25 to 40 hours a week {AKA Behavior Modification Intervention including: Discrete trial training (DTT), Pivotal Response and Teach methodologies}

The other really really important thing I learned - the therapy is only as good as the person delivering it. It was critical that I did my homework, so I could understand what the intervention was supposed to look like and what I should expect. Because sadly, over the years agencies have sent "therapists" to work my son who had little or NO experience working with ASD kids. It took me a while to gain my confidence, but once I understood, I had no problem sending back an unqualified therapist. And when I would feel bad about asking someone to leave my case, I would just remind myself how critical every moment of Nicky's therapy is, and how it was the ONLY KNOWN THING THAT COULD CHANGE HIS OUTCOME - SO I COULD NOT AFFORD TO WASTE A MINUTE!

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