ADJUST ALONG THE WAY
Adjustments along the way
With intervention and therapy from AST, children often make amazing progress. But it’s important to understand that each stage of development brings its own challenges. As your child moves forward, goals will change and new demands will arise. Keep flexible and know that adjustments to your approach will need to be made and that these changes to your child’s program can be very valuable to his or her progress.
Many parents of children with autism learn to masterfully balance their child’s needs, abilities, and schedule while advocating on their behalf. And while focusing on the “now” is important, it can sometimes blind parents to the needs of the future.
In reality, parents of children with autism should always look 3-5 years down the road. Keeping your child’s future in mind will actually help with current planning, making it easier to decide what to focus on now so that the path to future goals remains clear.
PERSON CENTERED PLANNING
Person centered planning
Simply put, Person-Centered Planning is a problem-solving process used to help people with disabilities plan for their future. In Person-Centered Planning, groups of people focus on one individual’s vision of their future and what they would like to do with their life. This person-centered team meets to identify opportunities for their “focus person” to develop personal relationships, participate in their community, increase control over their own life, and develop the skills and abilities needed to achieve these goals. Person-Centered Planning relies on the team to care about the focus person and take action, ensuring that strategies discussed in planning meetings are implemented so the person can achieve success.
To view an individual in a different way.
To recognize the individual’s desires, interests, and dreams.
To help the individual gain control over their own life.
To increase opportunities to participate in the community.
To use team effort to develop a plan for turning dreams into reality.
STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT
Stages of development
With each stage of development for a child, there are new challenges and opportunities for learning and growth. Most parents have seen a list of child development milestones from their pediatrician. These lists can be helpful in identifying if there is a delay that needs to be addressed. Our goal with this page is not to outline the delays but rather the opportunities you may want to consider for your child. The suggestions below may be helpful in considering what your child needs now as well as considering future options.
0-5 - It is ideal to start services at the youngest age possible. Early intervention takes advantage of the plasticity of a young child’s brain, and research shows that dramatic shifts in the course of your child’s development are possible. An ongoing ABA program is critical in establishing behaviors that will support your child’s social and communication abilities and skills. Speech therapy can also be very helpful in building the functional use of language and communication. Occupational therapy can help to improve a child’s motor skill deficits that may make it difficult for your child to participate in and focus on activities.
5-10 - Building upon the social and communication skills that have been established will facilitate friendships and community involvement. This is a great time to focus on one (or more) of your child’s interests as a means to support their access to recreational activities and also utilize these areas as motivation towards other goals. Consider a sport, club, or other activity in which your child can engage.
11-17 - Social skills continue to play an important role in life with increased focus in the teen years. A social skills group or other cooperative recreational activity (e.g., sports team, club, etc.) can support a number of social goals while in an environment of friendship. Groups that address your child’s interest (music, games, etc.) will be the most meaningful to them. The development of a life plan during adolescence is important to guide the necessary interventions and supports that will be required to make that plan a reality. The establishment of self-management of behavior and independence is critical during these years to lay the foundation for independent living during adulthood.
Young Adulthood - The goal during this period is to establish as much independence as possible while providing the necessary supports for success in the individual’s community. This can include assistance at college, job coaching for employment, and aid with assisted or independent living arrangements.