Part 3 – Why Early Intervention for Autism is Best
For many medical issues, the earlier we know about them, the better the outcomes are compared to taking the wait-and-see approach.
The same can be said for autism. Parents who watch for the early signs of autism can discuss their concerns with their pediatrician or primary healthcare provider and get their child evaluated and diagnosed as soon as possible, so the appropriate medical interventions can be started sooner rather than later.
What Does Early Mean in Numbers?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the average age a child is diagnosed with autism is five years old. That sounds young, but in actuality, children can start early intervention programs, like ABA therapy, as young as two years old!
Between the ages of 2 and 3, children’s brains are still forming and more changeable than at older ages. This “plasticity” that doctors refer to is what gives early intervention treatments for autism a better chance of being effective in the long term and providing children the very best opportunity for reaching their full potential.
Research bears this out. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) cite several research studies that show early diagnosis of and interventions for autism are more likely to have major long-term positive effects on symptoms as well as on skills children develop when they are older.
What Are Early Interventions for Autism?
Early intervention refers to a wide range of services for babies, toddlers, and school-aged children with developmental and/or behavioral concerns, like autism.
Goals of early intervention services can vary based on the unique needs of each child. Goals can range from increased social engagement and competence, independence, and cognitive skill development, to communication, language, play skills, and gross motor and fine motor skills. In general, the overall goal of early intervention for autism is to reduce symptoms that interfere with daily functioning, quality of life, and a child’s ability to learn.
ABA therapy is a great example. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the gold standard in autism care. It’s a proven scientific approach to understanding how a child’s physical and social environment affects their actions, and their ability to learn. When those connections are discovered, ABA therapists can work to modify a child’s environment to increase learning and desired behaviors.
Other early interventions for autism can include:
- Speech therapy
- Hearing impairment services
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Nutrition services
- Parent training
Are Early Interventions Covered by Insurance?
The short answer is yes. Autism treatment, including intensive early intervention services like ABA therapy, can be costly if out of pocket. Most states now require health insurance providers operating in their respective state to cover autism treatment. What varies by state is what is covered and to what degree. You can learn more about your state’s law here.
ABA therapy is covered in all 50 states. To find the best provider near you, go to BHCOE.org. They are THE accrediting body for center-based ABA therapy providers in the U.S. and around the world. They award accreditation based on meeting and exceeding industry standards and a provider’s commitment to continuous improvement.
Whichever ABA therapy provider you choose, make sure they provide a wholistic approach that provides support and guidance for both your child and family.
The most important thing you can do to help a child you think may have autism is to act now. Don’t wait and see. Talk to your doctor as soon as possible and give your child and family every chance at a happy, fulfilling life together through early intervention.
If you live in North Texas or the Boulder area in Colorado and want to learn more about the life-changing early intervention of ABA therapy, get in touch with the autism and ABA therapy experts at The Behavior Exchange. We’re a Behavioral Health Center of Excellence® that has been helping families for more than 20 years. We can help you, too!