Autism Intervention: The Role Of Parents and Families
Therapy Must Continue At Home
Many autism interventions take place outside of the home, at a therapist’s office or school. There are home-based therapies, such as “Floortime” that can be extended to the home; all family members can get involved in simply playing with and engaging a child on his or her level.
Families of autistic children can extend speech, occupational, and physical therapies to the home setting.
Therapists can give advice and instruction to family members to help them engage children in therapy outside of the therapist’s office.
Simple things such as helping a child to recognize words can happen anywhere: encouraging a child to name a color, pointing out an interesting tree, encouraging a child to say “hello” can all be extensions of more formal therapy.
Parents’ education about autism and involvement with other parents can help them understand their child’s interventions. Parents can participate in – or just listen to – parent support groups that will help educate them on different therapy techniques to try at home.
Learning about the best and most recent therapies can help parents to become a better advocate for their child. Getting involved in a community can not only educate parents but empower them as well.
Keeping the family routine and structure may be difficult when a child first enters intervention. Appointments can take up a lot of time and put a strain on siblings’ activities.
Keeping an established routine, though, can help the effectiveness of intervention by providing the child a solid place from which to start.
Parents should ask as many questions as they need about interventions to be sure they understand how they work and what the goal of each therapy is.
Keeping open communication between parent and therapist or other treating professional is crucial to helping a child receive the most effective intervention.
For more on how autism affects families, see Your Family and Autism.