Autism Spectrum Disorder, also known as ASD is a developmental disorder, that refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. In Singapore, Autism affects 1 in 150 children.
From a research point of view, the most proven and recommended approach for children with autism is behavioral therapy. Although behavioral intervention seems to be designed for children who faces a lot of behavioral concerns (e.g. acting out and aggressive behaviors), that’s actually not the case. Behavioral Therapy not only works on reducing inappropriate behaviors, it is also a useful intervention to teach important skills like social skills and communication skills.
The benefits of Behavioral Therapy is that it is effective and safe. Behavioral therapy also works on different domains in a child’s development. E.g. Language, Cognitive, Social Skills, Motor Skills, Compliance and Attention. Behavioral Therapy uses the Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) approach which is probably the most studied intervention for autism. It is a highly structured and scientific approach that teaches, play, communication, self-care, academic and social living skills, which can reduce problematic and inappropriate behaviors. This approach has plenty of research showing that it improves outcomes for children with autism.
Behavioral Therapy is the typical starting point for children with more severe symptoms and the programmes are designed and tailored to every individual client. The programme and goals will also change as skills improve.