- Posted by Caravel Autism Health
- On July 23, 2020
- 0 Comments
Returning to school can be a stressful time for all families, but especially so for those with kids on the autism spectrum. Throw in a quickly evolving pandemic with uncertain school schedules, and many families are likely to feel overwhelmed.
While some aspects of school will remain unchanged come fall, school districts around the country are scrambling to implement changes aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.
These sudden disruptions to established routines are particularly challenging, as children on the spectrum often struggle with adopting new rules after previously being taught how to do something, and many children with autism find unexpected changes especially difficult. That’s why it’s critical to help children with autism adapt to changes gradually.
Whether learning ultimately occurs at home or in a classroom during the 2020-21 school year, now is the time to consider how a quality applied behavior analysis (ABA) program can help your child reach success in these uncertain times.
Individualized comprehensive treatment
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a new host of challenges for children and their families. From the difficulties of engaging with e-learning to the sensory issues that make mask wearing extremely difficult, if not impossible, families and individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) will benefit from the structured learning that ABA provides now more than ever. Through ABA’s systematic, reinforcement-driven approach, children can learn how to adapt to these changes in a way that is effective and fun.
With increased flexibility due to e-learning, comprehensive programs in ABA are now available to a broader range of children who would greatly benefit from this treatment.
A comprehensive program includes practice with communication, social skills, daily living skills as well as parent education and typically involves 25 to 40 hours of one-on-one treatment per week. These plans produce the best results when parents are engaged and work on goals that affect life outside of therapy.
Our holistic treatment plans are designed to promote communication and optimize skill development. These plans help children with autism reduce their stress and frustration, allowing them to experience freedom and success in interacting with the world around them. Our experts gather data throughout treatment, monitoring the child’s progress and making adjustments to treatment as necessary.
An individualized comprehensive treatment plan can get a child on track, regardless of what the fall may bring.
Family support services
We pride ourselves on supporting not just the individual with ASD but also the whole family. During these times, our psychologists are also helping caregivers navigate the added challenges of raising a child with special needs during a pandemic.
Following the start of ABA treatment, families work with a psychologist at varying levels based on their individual needs. The psychologist works closely with a family’s treatment team to ensure continuity of care and the best possible outcomes.
Our providers also work with the siblings of diagnosed children to help them navigate life with a brother or sister on the autism spectrum and provide them with a space to address their own individual emotional needs.
Tradeoffs of homeschooling and socialization
For some children, homeschooling might be the best option, especially during these complicated times.
Homeschooling provides the flexibility to meet a child’s specific needs, allowing parents to focus on a child’s strengths and compensate for any weaknesses. While homeschooling may result in fewer opportunities to socialize, children can participate in community activities such as camps, sports and music lessons.
While COVID-19 has all but eliminated in-person play dates, we’ve set up a series of virtual circle times. Children in these groups participate via Zoom and follow group instruction, interact with other children in the group and practice social skills. We also offer virtual play dates so there’s additional peer exposure and social practice. This is a fantastic opportunity to build relationships and skills as a community. As public health concerns wane, we look forward to taking these new virtual friendships out into the real world.
Options for families in uncertain times
With fall schedules unclear as schools work to provide safe options for all students, we offer a variety of treatment options and services to fit your family’s evolving needs. Nearly all of our markets deliver treatment in centers or in your home, and we are able to provide access to our clinicians and psychologists and schedule treatment during morning, mid-day, afternoon and early evening windows of availability.
We recognize your family’s availability will be different from day to day given variety in upcoming school schedules, and we stand ready to help you find the right path to continue delivering high-quality ABA treatment for your child.
To learn more about what is available for your family, please contact your director or scheduler on your team.
About Caravel Autism Health
At Caravel Autism Health, our mission is to change lives. Our team of dedicated professionals works with children with autism and related developmental disabilities and their families to develop skills, create connections and instill confidence.
We work in partnership with families to design customized autism treatment programs. Our programs are rooted in the principles and science of applied behavior analysis therapy. We create real-world learning experiences that help children with autism and related developmental disabilities build a wide range of skills. We serve families in centers and in the home throughout the greater Chicagoland and Rockford areas in Illinois; Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Wausau and Eau Claire areas in Wisconsin; and the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Rochester and Mankato areas in Minnesota.
We provide answers when you — and your child — need them most.