early intervention (EI)

definition of early intervention (EI): Assessment and treatment of a child as early as possible. Early intervention typically describes treatment between the ages and 0 and 3 and certainly before the age of four.

West Texas Autism Center Offers ABA Services

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Melissa Richardson, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, founded the West Texas Autism Center in Abilene.

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Melissa Richardson, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), founded the West Texas Autism Center in Abilene. Having worked in the autism and special education field for over 35 years, she’s a strong believer in early intervention. The center focuses on applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy for the clients, who range in age from 2 to 27. Richardson explained, “The earlier we get in there and teach them those skills, the more they're going to progress and be able to apply what they know.”

Early Intervention Still Proves Key in Helping Kids with Autism

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This article points to yet another example of the importance of early intervention in autism.

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This article points to yet another example of the importance of early intervention in autism. Rise … for baby and family, in Keene, New Hampshire is focused on helping kids who have just been diagnosed with autism, and are under the age of three. Rise is an agency that has financial ties with the NH Bureau of Developmental Services so they offer up to 10 hours a week of one-on-one care in the child’s home as well as services at Rise. Rise calls their program “Jumpstart”. It is a mixture of applied behavior analysis (ABA), floortime, and Early Start Denver Model. In the article, parents commented on how their children had increased communication and social skills.

Amaze Behavior Therapy Treats Each Child with Autism as an Individual

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Amaze Behavior Therapy is an applied behavioral analysis-based clinic in Cleveland, TN.

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Amaze Behavior Therapy is an applied behavioral analysis-based clinic in Cleveland, TN. The owner and clinical director, Carrie Walls, explained, “At Amaze Behavior Therapy, we believe every child is unique and therefore needs an individualized approach … we offer an array of behavior therapy components.” In addition to ABA, Amaze Behavior Therapy offers discrete trial training, incidental teaching, pivotal response training, and verbal behavior approach. The focus is on early intervention so Amaze serves children from birth through five years old, although they will consult with children up to 8 years old.

Wisconsin Early Autism Project Goes to Malaysia

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The Early Autism Project Malaysia is the first autism organization in Malaysia.

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The Early Autism Project Malaysia (EAP) is the first autism organization in Malaysia. The director, Jochebed Isaacs, trained at the Wisconsin Early Autism Project. Isaacs explained, "Through early intervention programmes, children with autism learn to express themselves better and recognise the basic skills of life like playing with other children and identifying bullies." EAP begins with children as young as 18 months and works with them one-on-one. The therapy focus of EAP is based on applied behavioral analysis (ABA) and therapists work with each child on language, social skills, cognitive skills, and preparation for school. Currently EAP charges parents a fee, but they are working on a budget-friendly plan and also offer a free blog, Autismmalaysia.

Children’s Museum Offers Special Programming for Kids with Autism

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The Children’s Museum of Saratoga (New York) will begin a once-a-month program for kids with autism.

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The Children’s Museum of Saratoga (New York) will begin a once-a-month program for kids with autism. The entire museum will be closed except for children on the spectrum. Staff has been trained by Saratoga Bridges, an organization that helps people with special needs. The museum staff has created binders with pictures of everything in the museum so that kids can pick out what they want to visit. The exhibits will be interactive and instructive and include a sensory room. Michelle Smith, the Executive Director, explained, “This program is more than just exploring the museum. The children are learning, and early intervention is taking place. It’s a platform for the kids to experience play as they might not in other environments.”

Speech and Language Therapy as Early Intervention for Autism

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This article suggests that a third of the children diagnosed with autism have communication issues.

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This article suggests that a third of the children diagnosed with autism have communication issues. These issues include not talking, unintelligible sounds, speaking in a sing-song tone, and repetition. The earlier speech and language therapy starts, the better the chances are that the child’s communication skills may improve. Speech and language therapy doesn’t just involve speaking, but also helping a child use facial expressions and body language. Other options used to increase speech and language skills include electronic talking devices, sign language, typing, picture boards (PECS), and facial massage.

Early Start Denver Model as Early Intervention Therapy

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Dr. Giacomo Vivanti at LaTrobe University researched the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) as an early intervention therapy for autism.

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Dr. Giacomo Vivanti and his team at LaTrobe University researched the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) as an early intervention therapy for autism. They found that that the children they studied had improved after the ESDM therapy. They also discovered that kids who improved the most were those better able to use items for their intended purpose, for example, Legos. They also showed that ESDM seemed to work in a group setting as opposed to just one-on-one. This finding alone would potentially allow more children to receive the early intervention.

Autism Experts Write Book to Help Families Get Started

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Tanya Paparella and her co-author Laurence Lavelle recently published More Than Hope for Young Children on the Autism Spectrum.

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Tanya Paparella and her co-author Laurence Lavelle recently published More Than Hope for Young Children on the Autism Spectrum. The book was a result of the Paparella’s years of autism research at UCLA and her desire to relieve the frustration that parents have when they first receive the autism diagnosis. The authors wanted parents to feel empowered even while they waited for traditional autism therapies to become available. The book provides step-by-step early intervention instructions that target language, gestures, and social interaction. Paparella noted that one added benefit of parental intervention was “that while children with autism should also engage in therapies with specialists, by using these strategies, families can significantly reduce the financial overhead incurred by relying only on specialists for intervention.”

Early Intervention May Improve Brain Activity in Kids with Autism

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A recently published study on early intervention (EI) for kids with autism showed that EI may improve brain activity.

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A recently published study on early intervention (EI) for kids with autism showed that EI may improve brain activity. The EI in the study focused on improving cognitive and speech skills in children as young as a year old. One researcher, Geraldine Dawson, PhD, explained, “For the first time, parents and practitioners have evidence that early intervention can result in an improved course of both brain and behavioral development in young children. It is crucial that all children with autism have access to early intervention which can promote the most positive long-term outcomes.” The EI in the study was based on a combination of applied behavior analysis (ABA) and relationship-based approaches, such as Relation Development Intervention (RDI) and floortime.

Do You Know Signs of Sensory Processing Disorder?

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Lucy Jane Miller, Ph.D., OTR discussed some symptoms that may indicate that a child has sensory processing disorder (SPD).

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Lucy Jane Miller, Ph.D., OTR, founder of the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation, discussed some symptoms that may indicate that a child has sensory processing disorder (SPD). These include being overly sensitive to touch or noise, poor motor skills, difficulty with daily living tasks, temper tantrums, easily distracted or fidgety, craves movement, and/or is easily overwhelmed. Miller explained, “SPD occurs when sensory signals don’t get organized into appropriate responses.” Not all children with SPD are diagnosed with autism, and not all children with autism have sensory issues, and it’s important not to confuse the two. At the same time it’s important to get early intervention therapies for both. One good resource is the Sensory Therapies and Research Center (STAR Center).

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