When your child was diagnosed with autism, did you feel bombarded with the decisions you needed to make? Finding the right fit for early intervention services is one of the biggest decisions you will make after receiving an autism diagnosis. Once we discovered center-based autism therapy, we knew it was the right fit for our family. In center-based autism therapy, our children work one-on-one with line therapists, have immediate access to their senior staff, and experience group and individual social interactions. Here are 6 reasons to love center-based autism therapy services:
As soon as our children walk into the center, they are greeted by their line therapists. They greet other children in the hall and practice sharing and turn-taking skills when they play games. Group activities teach them appropriate behavior and participation in a group setting, similar to a classroom environment. They work on programs to greet other staff or invite a peer to play. We’ve witnessed both of our children thrive in this social environment.
Level of support from senior staff
Do your kids act differently when they know someone is watching them? Ours certainly do! Since senior staff is on site, they are able to discreetly observe our children. They are also available to step in during challenging behaviors or watch our kids’ response to certain situations. Senior staff is able to build a rapport with our children and, in doing so, have more personal experience to reference when updating programming needs.
Meeting other parents
When you go to the center daily, you begin to see the same parents at drop off and pick up times. I enjoy meeting other parents, who share the same unique circumstances as our family. These parents have also served as excellent sources of information about community services outside of the center.
Making friends for off-site play dates
Our kids make friends at the center and they desire to see them off-site as well. We’ve had the privilege to attend a birthday party, meet at an indoor playground, and visit a pumpkin patch. Next month, we will attend a breakfast in our community with our kids, their friend, and their favorite cartoon characters. Off-site play dates help our children expand their social abilities, make deeper connections, and give us the opportunity to develop relationships with other families in the autism community.
Parent training opportunities
Do you want to learn more about a specific aspect of ABA therapy, addressing your child’s behavior, or anything related to parenting a child on the autism spectrum? Senior staff may conduct parent training to equip you with knowledge to better serve your child. Our funding source requires parent training sessions, but you may also be able to request training sessions. My husband and I have learned valuable information on behavior theory, discipline, sleep, and feeding.
Receiving direction from various staff
There are several different line therapists that our children work with on a regular basis. They have different personalities, approaches and ways of phrasing directions. When our kids are familiar with receiving direction from different people in different ways, they are more likely to broadly apply their skills. For example, instead of only responding to, “It’s lunch time,” they know it’s time to go to the lunch room when told various directions (i.e. Let’s go to lunch, It’s time to eat, Are you ready for lunch?). A broad application of skills helps us at home, too, because we’re not concerned about an exact phrase as the only option for direction.
While the needs of each family varies, we feel that center-based therapy is the only option for us! We made the decision to go with center-based ABA therapy in early 2015 and haven’t questioned our choice since. The level of support and growth our entire family has received from the center has sustained us through some challenging months! When it came time to purchase our first home this year, proximity to the center was at the top of our list. I’d like to hear about your experiences with center-based ABA therapy. Please share what you love about it in the comments!