Prospective parents visiting our center often ask the question, “how much is too much therapy?” At Lighthouse Autism Center, we specialize in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, an intensive type of therapy that is the only therapy for children with autism endorsed by the U.S. Surgeon General.
Children with autism need consistent, targeted, therapy to minimize skill gaps. Intensive therapy, such as ABA, has been shown to be incredibly effective in helping children and adults with autism live more fulfilled lives. Furthermore, the earlier children begin this therapy, the more effective the therapy will be.
If we think of ABA therapy in the same way we think about school for our children, we will see that the time spent is equal. The average child is in a classroom for 6 to 8 hours a day, five days a week. They are being taught and instructed in the classroom and those lessons are carried over at home. ABA therapy is the same. Most of our children spend eight hours each day at our centers where they are being taught life skills, school skills, and working on decreasing inappropriate or problem behaviors. These same skills are also put into practice in a home setting.
One of the most common questions parents ask when approaching the idea of therapy for a child with autism is “how long will my child need therapy?”
Unfortunately, there is no easy answer or one solution for a child with autism. Each child is unique in their skills and goals. This means that each child’s therapy plan and programs, and the length of that therapy plan, will vary.
However, on average, most children are enrolled at a center for two years. While a child may only be enrolled for two years, that does not mean they only need two years of therapy. At Lighthouse, the goal is to transition children back to a classroom setting where some form of therapy continues. This may mean having a classroom aid work with them or setting up an IEP with the school. Other children may not need any support at all.
Ultimately, there is no “cookie-cutter” approach when it comes to your child. At Lighthouse, we understand that and are dedicated to giving your child a personified experience that will help them to reach their fullest potential.
At Lighthouse Autism Center, we take great pride in the safety of our centers. Specifically, all of our employees receive two weeks of training before beginning therapy with a child, are First Aid and CPR certified, and most notable, are Crisis Prevention Intervention, or CPI, certified.
What is CPI?
CPI can best be described as nonviolent crisis intervention training designed to teach best practices for managing difficult situations and disruptive behaviors. Therapists learn how to identify at-risk individuals and use nonverbal and verbal techniques to defuse hostile behavior. This type of training not only ensures the utmost safety of the children at our centers, but also, the safety of our staff.
When a child is diagnosed with autism, it affects the entire family. While we often think of the parents or caregivers as those primarily affected, siblings are deeply affected as well. So, as parents, we must ask ourselves, what can we do to help both our child with autism as well as their brothers and sisters?
Educate and Set Expectations
It is important to make sure siblings understand the diagnosis of their brother and sister and what that means. Sit down and have a conversation with your child about autism and what that may mean for their relationship with their sibling (ie: Sam can’t express his wants or needs verbally so he may scream or Sam hears things differently than other people and that’s why we need to turn the music down, etc…). Be sure to have open communication with your child and be sure to let them know it’s ok to ask questions. Furthermore, having a sibling with autism can often mean having unexpected and upsetting reactions with others who may not understand their diagnosis. Prepare your child for different scenarios they may find themselves in with friends, schoolmates, or even strangers, and how to properly and respectfully react to things they may hear or experience.
Often times, so much time is dedicated to the child with autism and their needs, that the siblings can begin to feel neglected, or “left out.” Make sure you’re spending time with all of your children. Consider setting up a special one-on-one activity once a month with each child, or plan activities the entire family can do together. This will ultimately create a stronger family that is prepared to deal with the challenges faced by raising a child with autism.
Have a child in need of ABA or speech therapy? Contact LAC today!
Lighthouse Autism Center has opened it’s sixth center in Granger, IN and is excited to be serving this local community. Like other centers, the new center is a large building with the highest safety standards, a beautiful play area, and plenty of natural light. It is the perfect space and is a wonderful learning environment for the kiddos who attend this center.
When opening a new center, our goal is to not only create a beautiful learning environment for the children at the center, but to make it convenient for parents. Often times parents have a long commute to reach a center that can provide therapy for their child, especially if they live in rural areas. That’s why we have made it our mission to bring quality, center-based ABA therapy to communities in need.
Need ABA services in your community? Contact Lighthouse today!