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Early Intervention Is Crucial In Treating Autism Spectrum Disorder

1185 words - 5 pages

“Your child has autism spectrum disorder” are words no parent wants to hear. They are words that will instill fear, worry, and sadness. When parents hear this for the first time, they will have many questions. “Is there anything I can do to help my child? If so, what can be done?” Early intervention services; such as applied behavior analysis therapy, occupational therapy, sensory integration therapy, and speech therapy before the age of three; can help improve the development of children with autism spectrum disorder. As an educator, early intervention is a subject teachers should be well educated in. It would be beneficial to the educator and the student, for a teacher to know and understand early intervention strategies.
Early intervention is effective in treating autism spectrum disorder in many ways. One important way it has been proven effective by research is by increasing a child’s cognitive skills. When a child is first diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, they will likely be diagnosed as having a cognitive delay. Research shows that early invention services, such as applied behavior analysis, occupational, and speech therapy has helped increase IQ scores in children with autism spectrum disorder. In one study, children who received up to twenty hours a week of early intervention services had an average rise in IQ points of 17.6 (Solis, 2010). This increase in cognitive skills benefited children in the classroom setting. After receiving extensive early intervention treatment, children typically performed better on standardized testing. With an increase in cognitive skills and better achievement on standardized testing, children were able to be placed in less restrictive classroom settings (Smith, 1999).
Another area where early intervention has been effective in treating autism spectrum disorder is by increasing language skills. Most children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder will have a language delay. The language delay can range from a mild to severe. If done early, speech and other early intervention therapies can dramatically improve the language skills of a child with autism spectrum disorder. One way these therapies are successful is, research shows that there are many early behaviors that lay a foundation for the learning of language. These early behaviors are closely related to whether or not a child is able to understand another person and use this understanding to communicate with them. Two important early behaviors required for these skills are symbolic play and joint attention. An example of symbolic play is when a child uses his crayon and pretends it is a truck. Joint attention is when a child has equal attention on an object and another person. For example, they see a plane flying in the sky and they point at the plane while looking at another person to check if they are looking (Fessenden, 2012). Both of these early behaviors are vital in learning appropriate language skills. ...

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