Every parent has an “imagined future” for their child, a vision for their child’s major milestones such as grade school, college, job prospects and living independently.
However, this might look different for parents who have children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and it may be stressful for parents to come to terms with what the future may bring for their child.
But there is hope. The key is for parents to be brave and realistic so that their own fears do not interfere with their child getting proper evaluation and services. Many children with ASD who receive therapy based on applied behavior analysis (ABA). There are three critical success factors for ABA that require parents to be fully engaged in their child’s treatment:
- Intensity: ABA is what’s called a “dose-dependent” therapy—the bigger the dose, the bigger the treatment effect.
- Continuity: Autism does not take time off for holidays. Children with ASD will regress even with small breaks in therapy until skills are well-established.
- Family involvement:For the best and fastest results, therapy must take place even when the therapist is not present. Parents, siblings and friends can all help.
However painful it may be at first, parents must learn set aside previously imagined futures and understand what is required to help their child here and now. This will allow their child to have the brightest future possible.
Ken Barry is the area vice president for Texas at Centria Autism.