Learn the Tools of Therapy
As recently as 10 years ago, autism and the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) were synonymous. ABA is one of the oldest and best-researched types of therapies for treating children with autism; it works with the principles of rewarding (or positively reinforcing) a child when he learns something or exhibits good behavior. It has worked wonders for some children and has the most research to support its effectiveness in reducing the symptoms of autism. It is often the first therapy parents pursue for their children, but is not the only or the right therapy for all.
Now there are several other effective forms of therapies for children with autism: the Floortime method, the rapid prompting method, the Picture Exchange Communication System, verbal behavior analysis, sensory diets, and speech, occupational, and physical therapies. Goring says it's important to remember that a combination of therapies may be needed and that one therapy can work for a while before it plateaus. "There's no road map to what will work best for your child," she explains. "Go online and research first. Talk to other parents to see what you may want to try with your child. Document the progress. I started making a video diary of my son when he was diagnosed 14 years ago. It was a visual way to see what was working, when things started working, and when we needed to change things up."