Dealing with Autism
Autism Spectrum Disorder is known as a complex developmental disability that is a neurological disorder that has an effect on normal brain function, affecting development of the person's communication and social interaction skills. People with ASD have issues with non-verbal communication, a wide range of social interactions, and activities that include an element of play.
Autism is Not
Children cannot grow out of being Autistic, but they can learn functional ways to adapt in the world that suit them best. Children with ASD can develop into individuals that live long and fruitful lives.
Who Gets Autism?
Autism (or ASD) is a wide-spectrum disorder that affects both females and males; this means that no two people with ASD will have exactly the same symptoms. Most children who have ASD would have shown signs of the disorder around the age of 2 years yet not all as some children are diagnosed with ASD further along in their development. People who have ASD will have mild symptoms while others will have severe ones.
What Causes Autism?
ASD is considered an idiopathic disorder that means, “without known cause”. Scientists have discovered some genetic and toxic exposures to cause autism or autistic-like symptoms but no known exact reasoning for autism has been identified.
Your Therapy at Dr. Angela Fountain & Associates?
At Dr. Fountain & Associates we provide a safe and fun atmosphere for children of all ages to explore their feelings and behaviors. We provide an interactive country setting that enables children to explore their concerns in a way that is non-threatening and enjoyable. At Dr. Angela Fountain & Associates we offer Cognitive-behavioural play therapy (CBPT) informed by Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) principles.
Cognitive-behavioral play therapy (CBPT) is an approach to treating children in a developmentally sensitive way. CBPT is most often used with children that have high functioning Autism and who have already gone through ABA treatment. Cognitive-behavioral play therapy involves your child in the treatment through play, using art materials, baking, stuffed animals, puppets, live animals and other toys. CBPT includes the establishment of specific goals, the therapist playing an active role in selecting materials and activities, using play to educate the child, and using praise and rewards to encourage positive behaviors.
Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) is an evidence based treatment for children with Autism. This treatment program focuses on analysing specific skills and implementing techniques to increase positive behaviours and decrease harmful and negative behaviours. At Dr. Angela Fountain & Associates a variety of fun activities are used to facilitate our therapy including play, art, baking, animals, farm activities and recreation.
How can Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) Help?
ABA is an intensive form of therapy that analysis a child's specific behaviours, breaking it down into its simplest components. Therapists work with the child to increase appropriate positive behaviours such as daily living activities and tasks, oral expression, motor skills and social skills and decrease harmful and negative behaviours such as self harm, inappropriate verbal expression, angry outbursts etc. During ABA informed treatment, therapists work with parents to help them to implement strategies and behavioural programming in their home and at school.
ABA is an intensive form of therapy often requiring children to participate in treatment anywhere from 1-40 hours per week, depending on a child's needs, age and development. Dr. Angela Fountain & Associates will help in the overall assessment of your child and their needs, making recommendations on the amount/intensity of treatment needed.
How can Cognitive Behavioural Therapy/ Cognitive Behavioural Play Therapy (CBPT) Help?
CBPT is not just one technique but actually consists of a variety of intervention administered in a flexible manner individualized to the specific client and his or her presenting issues. Anxiety and frustration as well as other concurrent psychological problems are common amongst children with high functioning ASD cognitive behavioral therapy allows children to learn new coping behaviors. CBPT provides education on the nature of ASD, recognizing somatic responses, teaching relaxation techniques, identifying negative thoughts and feelings and learning to challenge them, teaching problem-solving skills, modeling, role-playing, and in vivo practice of new skills.
The following outlines the different phases of the Cognitive Behavioural Play Therapy treatment that your child would receive for Autism at Dr. Angela Fountain & Associates:
Phase One: The Foundation
Establishing a therapeutic relationship
Explain what ASD is and is not
How to set and make personal goals
Phase Two: The Nuts and Bolts
Identifying triggers that are problematic in social and educational environments
Learning how to stop once a trigger is identified
Creating structure and routine
Developing coping skills to assist with transitions
Develop socioemotional skills in order to enhance social abilities
Develop language and communication abilities
Phase Three: Practice Practice Practice
Practice roleplaying the different coping and problem solving skills
Applying what is learned to real like situations
What coping plan works best for you
Continue practicing and developing socioemotional abilities (e.g. Facial expressions, symbolic play, emotional expression and social norms)
Continue to develop language and communication abilities (e.g. Body language, perspective taking and give-and-take dialogue)
Phase Four: On the Right Path
Revisiting goals and making changes if necessary
Concrete plan on how to do things on our own
Phasing out therapy (monthly visits)
What Can Be Expected as a Client Recieving CBPT?
CBPT is a treatment that requires your active participation. You will be asked to attend therapy weekly for the initial phase of your treatment (first 6-8 sessions). You will be given out weekly take home assignments to be completed at home to help you practice the tools learned in therapy that encourage modifying your behavior, your thoughts, and your relationships.