- Posted by Caravel Autism Health
- On August 1, 2019
- 0 Comments
In a perfect world, all children would be ready to thrive in the classroom as soon as they’re old enough for school. For children with autism, however, that’s often not the case. Children with autism face challenges that typically developing children do not when it comes to interacting with the world around them. With summer winding down – and plans being made for the school year – many parents are weighing their options and trying to decide what will best serve their child.
At Caravel Autism Health, we frequently help parents work through this difficult decision. On the one hand, they feel pressure to enroll their child in school because that’s what is generally expected. On the other, they fear that their child will struggle to adjust, adapt and learn.
Dr. Eric Lund, Psy.D., ABPP, BCBA-D, is a psychologist who has worked with children with autism for 15 years and is a parent of a child with autism. He is also one of the founders of Caravel Autism Health. He offers the following advice for parents who are struggling to decide whether they should enroll their child in school or choose an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy program instead.
According to Dr. Lund, the first step for parents faced with this important decision should be to understand what motivates the child. “If a child is motivated by a desire to please,” explains Dr. Lund, “then that child is generally ready for school. For that child, school is the right environment. A child who wants to please others will want to fit in and will likely do well in a traditional school setting.”
“If a child is not motivated by a desire to please,” says Dr. Lund, “that child will have challenges in the classroom. He or she will be inattentive and will have trouble staying on task. Children with autism are motivated, even controlled, by the sensory and motor world. In the classroom environment, they may be fidgety or even oppositional. They often are reacting to stimuli instead of learning.” Further complicating the situation is the fact that many children with autism have limited verbal skills.
For children who are not yet motivated by the desire to please, ABA therapy may be the better choice. According to Dr. Lund, the best ABA therapy programs are designed as comprehensive intervention packages that address a wide range of difficulties that challenge young children with autism. These challenges can include communication skills, cognitive skills, gross and fine motor skills, and behavior regulation.
These interventions “can bridge the developmental gap and help children with autism get ready to succeed in school,” explains Dr. Lung. They will teach a child who has difficulty understanding other people and processing sensory information on how to become more social and more verbal. Ultimately, ABA therapy helps a child learn how to focus and how to control his or her own behavior and emotions. Once past that significant hurdle, the child will be ready to enter school and prepared to succeed in the classroom.”
For more information about customized ABA therapy programs, visit https://caravelautism.com/customized-treatment-plan/.