As parents, we only want the best for our children. Autism Spectrum Disorder (known as ASD) affects millions of children worldwide and can impact their ability to communicate their behaviour and overall social interactions. At the moment, there is no cure for ASD. One component that does help is therapy interventions designed to improve the overall quality of life for children with ASD and their families.
Helping Our Children Grow
An approach that has attracted attention in the last few years has been parent-led interventions with autism therapy. This involves letting parents have access to skills, knowledge, and strategies that they can use to support their children. In this article, we will explore what parent-led interventions in autism therapy mean and their benefits and share methods that parents can implement at home to enhance their child’s daily life. So, next time you’re about to search ‘autism therapy near me’, you might not need to, as you’ll have the tools to start your journey at home.
Strategies to Implement for Success
People often wonder, ‘How can parents be involved in interventions?’ You don’t have to do it alone! Parent-led interventions in autism therapy commonly involve the parents working closely with a healthcare professional or a therapist. These people will help the parents, offering training, support, and guidance as they take this next step. The parents, alongside their professionals, will participate in various techniques, for example, communication skills training, sensory integration therapy, and behavioural training sessions.
Once you have chosen the right professional, your interventions will be specific to your child’s needs and the desired end goal. Studies have shown that this approach to therapy has the parents in the driving seat, recognizing the vital role that a parent plays in their child’s life. The interventions are in place to empower the child and the parents as they grow in their skills of caring for their child.
As mentioned previously, there are many different routes a parent can take with their healthcare professional to offer support for their child. We’ve listed a few, but remember that these aren’t the only examples and can vary depending on your child’s needs.
1. Communication Skills Training
This is when the parents work with a therapist to learn communication strategies for their child. Sometimes, children have difficulty explaining what they need. This type of training includes visual aids, such as methods involving pictures that tell a story. This method will help the child understand their needs and share them with their parents.
2. Social Skills Training
This type of therapy is when the therapist and parents work together to design strategies to help develop the child’s social skills. Some of these might include basic things such as sharing appropriately, making eye contact, properly taking turns when playing, etc. These skills can be practiced with the parents engaging in role-play with their child, and once their child is ready, organizing play dates with friends.
3. Mindfulness Interventions
This one is more catered to the parents. No matter what level of autism their children experience, it is an adjustment for any parent to learn new skills that will help them take better care of their children. Naturally, these sessions and appointments can cause the parent to feel stressed or anxious. Mindfulness interventions help the parent understand their stresses and anxieties and learn how to cope with them in a positive and healthy way. This creates a more positive home environment where everyone’s emotions are looked after.
Studies have shown that there are many benefits of parent-led interventions in autism therapy. One of the key benefits is that they can strengthen the family structure. The more parents engage with these methods, the better their relationship with their children can become. It will help to alleviate any family stresses, as both parties are in a strong position to communicate with each other in ways they know work.
For many parents, this is also the most cost-effective approach. Not every family can afford countless trips to a therapist. Sometimes these sessions aren’t the cheapest. Instead, parents can feel empowered with the knowledge and skills they learn during their at-home sessions, implementing the lessons there. This reduces the need for therapy visits in the future!
Remember, you are your child’s most prominent teacher! A parent-implemented intervention provides your child with the best opportunities to learn. They will do it in a place that feels safe to them, in their everyday life with the people closest to them and who they trust. Through these methods, learning becomes more motivating, fun, and natural. Children depend on parents to learn many important lessons about life, and for those children on the autism spectrum, what you do at home could change their future.