Autism Therapy at Home: An Overview

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has become a prevalent neurological disorder among children with a prevalence rate of 1 in 54 in the United States. Children with autism experience a range of behavioural and developmental difficulties, including communication issues, social impairments, and limited interests.

Therapies and interventions play a significant role in addressing the difficulties of children with autism. Traditional therapy sessions typically occur in clinical settings, but due to recent technological advancements, families can perform autism therapy at home. Here are some of the widely used autism therapy options that parents can implement at home.

Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA)

ABA is the most common and evidence-based Autism Therapy at Home. ABA therapy involves breaking down skills into smaller parts, and providing positive reinforcement as the child completes tasks. Parents can provide ABA therapy at home using techniques that measure and analyze behaviour while trying to increase desirable behaviour and decrease unwanted behaviour. The software available online, ABC Mouse and Autism Live, are the most popular ABA therapy resources that parents can use at home with minimal guidance from an ABA therapist.

Social Stories

Social stories are used to provide a social situation sequence to the child in a simple and structured way. Social stories assist the autistic child in understanding social cues, such as facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice. Parents can produce social stories with the child’s favourite characters and situations, making it more appealing to the child. Social stories offer children with autism appropriate steps on how to respond to social scenarios, and are beneficial in ensuring a successful interaction with peers and adults.

Sensory Integration Therapy

Children with autism can have difficulty processing sensory information. Sensory Integration Therapy is a home therapy for autism that helps children with autism process sensory information. Sensory Integration therapy involves the use of weighted vests, squeeze toys, swings, and other sensory aids, to help children with autism gain control of their sensory systems. The benefits of the therapy include improving sensory processing and regulation, attention, and learning.

Speech Therapy

Speech therapy targets the enhancement of communication in children with autism. Speech therapy intervention helps children gain language and communication skills by utilizing interactive play, social scripts, and visual aids. Speech and language therapy might be recommended for children diagnosed with difficulty in pronouncing and using language to communicate. Parents can use technological speech therapy learning tools such as the Word Vault Essential, Speech Tutor, and Articulate It, for autism therapy at home.

Occupational Therapy (OT)

Occupational therapy is designed to help children with autism with daily tasks, including sensory processing, motor skills, and self-management. Parents can carry out OT at home by introducing different activities, such as cooking, dressing up, and other daily tasks, that help children with autism to learn how to navigate such tasks better. Video guides are accessible online that parents can use to carry out occupational therapy with their autistic children.

Music Therapy

Music therapy is an evidence-based practice that uses music and related strategies to address cognitive, behavioural, and emotional skills in children with autism. Music therapy enhances a child’s communication and social skills, attention, and memory span. Music therapy can be performed at home by engaging the child with musical instruments, listening to music and singing along with the child, and other musical activities. Apps such as Soundtrap and GarageBand are useful for music therapy at home for children with autism.

Conclusion

Autism therapy at home is an essential aspect of an autism treatment plan. Parents should consider implementing autism therapy at home using any of the above-recommended therapies to improve their child’s communication, social and behavioural skills. These interventions are evidence-based, structured, and aim at providing a child with ASD with the right support, increasing their chances of success in their daily lives.

FAQs

What is Autism Therapy At Home?

Autism Therapy At Home refers to the practice of providing treatment and support for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder within the comfort of their own homes. This therapy focuses on developing social, emotional and communication skills by targeting their problematic behaviour through different interventions.

What are the benefits of Autism Therapy At Home?

Autism Therapy At Home can provide several benefits for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, as it allows them to receive personalized treatment in their familiar environment. This approach also enables parents and caregivers to be directly involved in the therapy, giving them the opportunity to learn and reinforce new skills with their child, leading to better outcomes.

What types of therapies are used in Autism Therapy At Home?

There are several therapy options available for Autism Therapy At Home, but the most popular ones include Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), Speech-Language Therapy and Occupational Therapy. ABA is a scientific-based therapy that uses positive reinforcement to reinforce good behaviour and correct bad behaviour. Speech-Language Therapy targets communication and language development, while Occupational Therapy targets day-to-day skills such as self-care, play, and learning.


References

1. Kern Koegel, L., & Koegel, R. L. (2012). Pivotal response treatments for autism: Communication, social, and academic development. Paul H Brookes Publishing.

2. Dawson, G., Rogers, S., Munson, J., Smith, M., Winter, J., Greenson, J., & Varley, J. (2010). Randomized, controlled trial of an intervention for toddlers with autism: the Early Start Denver Model. Pediatrics, peds-2009.

3. Reichow, B., Barton, E. E., Boyd, B. A., & Hume, K. (2012). Early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) for young children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (10).