Treating Autism with Direct Care Therapy
Autism is a spectrum disorder, which means that each person who has it will present symptoms in a slightly different fashion. This can make it hard to treat if a group setting is the only means of treatment. Thankfully, doctors and scientists have been able to create effective treatments that focus on the individual, often providing a wonderful form of care for the person. Many ABA therapy agencies are beginning to employ direct care services more frequently to help improve the condition of a person with autism.
Applied Behavior Analysis
Applied behavior analysis, ABA, is a therapy that applies the principles of learning theories and motivation to help a person develop the skills needed to cope with their problems. This form of treatment has been backed up by evidence throughout time, and it is very effective when used to treat autism. Often, ABA therapy is mixed with direct care techniques to help the person make large improvements in life.
ABA therapy will help a person improve functioning through a variety of methods. Sometimes interventions in the home, classroom, and other relevant settings is needed to improve behavior and skills. The overall goal of the therapy is to help a person learn skills such as reading, sitting still, paying attention, and other things necessary to function properly in the world. In many cases, ABA therapy will integrate technology into the treatment.
Direct care provides one-on-one therapy between a person with autism and the therapist. This sort of therapy can be extremely effective in helping a client because autism is a spectrum disorder and direct care allows the therapist to more accurately and precisely assess the needs of the individual. The therapist will also be able to directly implement the principles of ABA. There is no need to work in an indirect fashion to address the person’s need, as may be necessary in a group therapy setting.
Direct care also allows the therapist to work with the rest of the client’s family to work on individual plans. The therapist and the family will work on a schedule to work on outside of therapy, which will improve the outcome of treatment. The other benefit stemming from this is that the schedule will ensure that there is some continuity of ABA therapy outside of the therapy sessions. The therapist should advise the parents on the best ways to implement the schedule and reinforce positive behaviors.
Direct care has the benefit of allowing the client to work toward independence more quickly. While the family and the therapist are still working with the client, an integral part of direct care is to teach the client ways to control their own behavior and emotions without external help. This sort of independence can be gained from a group therapy setting, but the process will be much slower and may not address the independence goals that a specific client should be aiming for.
Direct care helps to reduce some of the troubles a client with autism may face in the classroom setting. The client may have trouble listening to and absorbing the information shared by the teacher, and the client may encounter issues working with and comparing work with other classmates. With direct care, these skills can be addressed and improved. This treatment will also allow the client to compare improvement only to how they were before treatment began, helping self-esteem.
Implementing Direct Care
A person cannot begin direct care randomly. There are many things that must occur before treatment begins. The steps before treatment ensure that the client is receiving treatment for the right problem. It also ensures that the client is undergoing a treatment that is appropriate for that specific client. Each person responds to treatments in vastly different ways, so ensuring that the right treatment is chosen is vital to improvement.
To begin, the client and family will likely undergo a consultation with the ABA therapy agency. The consultation will involve a discussion of what treatment will entail and the cost of treatment. The consultation will address the areas of concern that a client’s family and the client may have. It will also allow the client and family to determine if that particular agency is appropriate for the client’s needs.
The therapy agency will then work with the client’s insurance company to work out the cost of treatment. In the case that the insurance company does not cover this agency, then the client and family will need to find a new one. Other than that, the agency and the insurance company will determine what is covered by insurance and what must be covered by the client or the client’s family. Treatment will not begin until some sort of payment plan is established.
If the insurance approval and consultation go well, the client will enter the first session of treatment. This will involve the assessment. The assessment will test the client’s skill level in different areas to determine what needs the most attention. The assessment will also look more specifically at how the child’s specific case of autism needs to be handled. The results of the assessment are extremely important in helping the therapist create an individualized treatment plan.
After the initial assessment, direct care therapy will begin. Therapy will focus on improving the results of the assessment by employing motivational techniques and the principles of learning. Periodically, the client will undergo additional assessments. These allow the therapist to determine what areas the client has improved in and to allow the therapist to adjust the treatment plan accordingly. The assessments will also allow the client to see the improvements being made, which can be a motivator.
Autism spectrum disorder can be hard on both the family and the person who has it. Thankfully, there are ways to treat the condition that improve the lives of the client and the client’s family. ABA therapy helps clients by motivating them to make improvements and employing learning theory to treatment. Direct care is a sort of extension of ABA that allows the therapist to work with the client in an individual setting, vastly improving the overall outcome of therapy.