3 Intervention Programs for Children with Autism
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are generally characterized by problems in the development of language and communication (both verbal and non-verbal), by difficulties with social skills, and by inflexible, rigid and absolute thinking. This affects them significantly on a daily basis.
Fortunately, there are currently several intervention programs aimed at children with autism in order to work on improving these deficits. Here are some of them.
First though, we need to point out that the difficulties mentioned above can appear to a greater or lesser degree depending on each individual person with ASD. Therefore, experts must adapt the psychoeducational intervention to the specific needs of the child in question. Experts should carry out a specialized and personalized intervention, according to the characteristics of the child and their environment.
“Labeling someone as ‘being in a world of their own’ is one of the worst mistakes. Difficulties with communication and social interaction don’t mean that one is from another planet. A lack of eye contact doesn’t mean you can’t see. The fact they’re wandering doesn’t mean they’re lost.”
– Liz Becker –
Intervention programs for children with autism
The ABA method
The ABA Method (Applied Behavior Analysis) is an intervention model aimed at children with autism. It aims to help them to enhance and develop new skills, generalize appropriate behaviors to new situations, and decrease undesirable behavior.
This method is based on operant conditioning, as it consists of reinforcing the child in a positive and systematic way. It uses the system of giving the child some form of prize (food, praise, song, game, etc.), every time they perform certain desirable behavior related to the following areas:
- Adaptive skills
- Motor skills
- Social skills
- Cognitive skills
- Executive functions
- Academic skills
- Playing skills
Experts will divide these, in turn, into smaller tasks to facilitate the execution of the process. By doing this, they’ll be able to reach an optimal level in the child.
The TEACHH model
The TEACCH model (Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children) bases its principles on:
- Structuring the environment: optimizing the organization of physical spaces, schedules, materials, etc.
- The use of materials and visual instructions
- Family collaboration – using the same materials and techniques at home
This method adapts perfectly to the special needs of children with autism. It facilitates their learning and the correct development of social and communication skills.
“The TEACCH method is the most widely used special education program worldwide and there are reports of its effectiveness in improving social and communication skills, reducing maladaptive behavior and improving the quality of life, thus reducing family stress.”
– Fernando Mulas and others –
The PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) program aims to teach children with autism certain strategies for communication and social interaction. In this way, children gradually and progressively acquire the necessary skills to communicate naturally through the exchange of images or pictograms.
It should be noted that such psycho-pedagogical intervention programs should always be applied by specialized professionals. Although, of course, the involvement of the family is fundamental for their successful development and positive results.It might interest you...
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- Mulas, F., Ros-Cervera, G., Millá, M. G., Etchepareborda, M. C., Abad, L., y Téllez de Meneses, M. (2010). Modelos de intervención en niños con autismo.Rev Neurol, 50(3), 77-84.