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ABA Therapy

The Importance Of Early Intervention For Children With Autism

Early intervention describes the services and support that help children and their families with developmental delays or disabilities. Some parents might hesitate for various reasons, but research and studies have backed the importance of early intervention for many years.

Why Early Intervention Is Important

Early intervention for autism means you can make sure your child can start receiving treatment as soon as possible so they are set up for success later in life.

90% of the Brain’s Growth Happens Before Kindergarten 

From birth to about five years of age, the human brain is in its most intensive stages of development.

The brain doubles in size in the first year of a child’s life. Researchers have concluded that two to four years old is considered the “primary age” for learning foundational skills and behaviors such as:

  • Language skills

  • Social skills and empathy

  • Internal monologue and critical thinking

  • Learning habits and generalizing lessons

  • Cognitive abilities

  • Gross motor skills

  • Basic functions that nurture independence

  • Moral understanding of right and wrong

  • Developing their personality and character traits

The brain grows by building connections from one brain cell to another, connecting different regions of the brain and their functions. These connections, called synapses, are the foundation for learning, behavior, and health. They connect different regions of the brain and their functions for completing bigger tasks.

During this primary period of growth, the connections happen in more than a million synapses every second. There’s a reason they say a baby’s mind is like a sponge, and it’s because a child is the most susceptible and malleable.

Most understanding and learning is also done through observation and modeling surroundings during this period. Over time, these connections become harder to change, so it is crucial to nurture this phase.

What Is Early Intervention?

The focus of early intervention is to meet the unique needs of each child during the four key areas of childhood development: cognitive development, physical development, behavioral development, and social and emotional development.

Cognitive development includes:

  • Acquiring speech and language skills.

  • Reading and writing.

  • Numerical capabilities.

  • Understanding logical problem-solving.

Physical development involves children’s physical health, nutrition, growth/overcoming of a physical disability.

Behavioral development involves children’s ability to monitor and regulate their behavior, attention, and impulses. Children’s self-regulatory skills are associated with their ability to form positive relationships with others and their success in school.

Social and emotional development involves children’s awareness of their own emotional needs and the emotional needs of others. It also encompasses the development of children’s self-esteem and their ability to manage negative feelings.

This is strongly associated with a child’s ability to form positive relationships with others and reduces the risk of depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders.

Study Shows Early Intervention Is Key for Children With Autism 

Dr. Connie Kasari of the University of California ran a study on the benefits of early intervention and found children treated as early as possible had a much higher likelihood of grasping and maintaining lessons taught into adulthood.

Families benefit from early intervention by better meeting their children’s needs from an early age, benefits that will affect the rest of their lives.

It is critical to be proactive. If your child is not meeting the CDC’s Developmental Milestones, is losing previously learned skills, or showing concerning behaviors, you should look for a developmental screening with a medical professional.

Autism can be diagnosed as early as 18 months – the important thing is you are proactive about getting diagnosed and treatment plans.

ABA Therapy and Early Intervention

As we grow, we transition from observational learning to a combination of observational and experienced-based learning. Using past experiences to generalize lessons and as foundational steps toward more complex tasks and skills.

For children diagnosed with autism, this age window holds a more weighted importance for them to learn and grow. This is the goal of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy which focuses on teaching new skills and behaviors through modeling, positive reinforcement, and repetition.

ABA encourages desired behaviors to improve a variety of skills that follow an individualized treatment plan tailored to each child’s specific needs. Results are data-driven because progress is tracked, measured, and goals are mapped out.

According to the CDC, this makes ABA the most evidence-based treatment plan for children with autism.

ABA treatment plans can focus on:

  • Improved communication and social skills. By learning how to express themselves and interact with others, children with ASD can participate more fully in their communities, build meaningful relationships, appropriately express their needs and wants, and understand social expectations.

  • Improved cognitive and motor skills. Children can play games to develop skills such as problem-solving, hand-eye coordination, and memory. These skills are important for learning, academic success, and basic functionality.

  • Increased independence. Learning necessary life skills like hygiene, self-care tasks, and responsibility. As children with autism become more self-reliant, they can better navigate the world and make their own choices.

  • Enhanced behavior management. Practicing and learning appropriate behaviors can lead to a more positive and harmonious home and community.

By investing in early intervention, parents and caregivers can give children with ASD the best foot forward toward living independent and fulfilling lives.

Getting Started With Applied ABC

Here at Applied ABC, we understand that every child’s journey is unique, and their treatment plan should cater to each individual’s specific needs. Our therapy is centered around the family and is clinically owned and operated.

If you’re ready to find out if Applied ABC is a good fit for your family, fill out our Getting Started Application!

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