Autism: Different Therapy Options

April is Autism Awareness Month so I have decided to go into the different therapies that my son receives and just explain the purpose of each.

All of the following are my own personal experiences and understanding of each type of therapy. None of this should be taken for what you will experience. This is for informational purposes only.


ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis)

I feel this one is the most important for kids with autism. It is an in-home therapy that works on behavior, areas of developmental delays and almost any issue that your child is dealing with that is not age appropriate.

Right now, my son receives 10 hours a week of therapy and during those sessions, they work on:

  • Speech
  • Fine Motor Skills (Cutting, coloring)
  • Basic Social Skills (His name and age, turn taking)
  • Self Care (Washing hands, brushing teeth)

Speech

This one is a given since our biggest issue with my son is a speech delay. He has broken sentences and about 50 to 75 words but most people have a hard time understanding him since he has a mild slur as well.

He goes to individual speech twice a week for half and hour each time. Plus, an hour once a week as preschool.

Since he started speech, I’ve notice an improvement in his receptive speech, expressive speech and articulation.


OT (Occupational Therapy)

This one is helpful for some of my sons more mild challenges of sensory issues.

They help him with eating – he is a VERY picky eater and does not like too much variety. When I say this, I’m meaning he I’ll only eat a few things.

  • Chicken nuggets
  • Apple sauce pouches (only in the pouches)
  • Bananas, strawberries, apples
  • Muffins
  • Eggs
  • Nutella Sandwich
  • Chips

That is it. No other foods. So daily, this is all he will eat. He won’t try anything else.

So they help try to expose him to new foods and get him to at least taste the food. He goes to OT once a week for an hour.


Special Autism Preschool (IEP)

This may be my favorite therapy for Leo. He gets to go to a preschool, specific for kids with mild disabilities, for a little over two hours every day during the week.

I enjoy knowing Leo is getting social time with peers, he is out of the house and they work on things to prep him for kindergarten. Plus, they incorporate speech and OT into his learning to help reinforce what he is learning outside of the classroom.

I’ve notice a boost in Leo’s confidence and all other areas since he started preschool. Also, he loves school! He will get sad when I pick him up and is so excited when I drop him off. Knowing he loves school makes it easier to drop him off.


Well, that’s all the therapy Leo gets but I know there are a ton more out there for kids with different issues or more severity. Currently, Lexi is also taking part in all these therapies but for slightly different reasons, she does not have a diagnosis yet.

If you have any questions or would like to share a different therapy you, a family member or friend takes part in, feel free to share in the comments!

Thank you for reading!

Cloe πŸ’‹

Advertisements

Autism Diagnosis: Still The Same Family

As many of you may already know, me and my family have been dealing with developmental delays with Leo. Therapists and doctors kept going back and forth between it being just a delay to something more. I have always felt like there was something more than just a delay but moved on and waited for it to become clear. 


This past October, I finally got a clear answer from our neurologist on Leo’s situation. The diagnosis – autism spectrum disorder. I thought hearing a diagnosis would make me feel nervous or sad or fear but instead it was a huge sigh of relief and gave me more hope and determination to do what’s right for my lil boy. 

​​
This diagnosis didn’t change who he is or who we are as a family. This diagnosis doesn’t define him, it is just another part that makes him who he is. Finally having a direction to go with all the symptoms and behavior is comforting. Before, I felt like I was reaching in all directions hoping something would catch and work. Now, I am able to create a plan of action. I can decide what treatments he needs and get him going on the right path. 

I have a new sense of determination to get organized and get going with treatment to help him. The first thing I decided to give a try since it wouldn’t hurt, was to cut out dairy. From the time we cut it out, two days later his behavior had drastically changed. He was more manageable and more reasonable than before. He was more willing to try to talk and was doing better with his eating habits. We have had him off dairy for about three month now and the results have been well worth the change in diet. 


He is hitting three years old this January so he has been reviewed to be put into preschool to help promote his growth and social interaction. I have such high hopes for Leo but know that disappointments may come. I plan to keep updating this blog with new information on Leo and his journey with autism. 

​​
If anyone has questions or advice, feel free to send me a comment! I hope this motivates, inspires, and can help people dealing with situations similar to mine. 

​​

Child At Heart

Many people don’t know much about my kids and how my oldest inspires me each day. He has a developmental delay and has therapy five days a week – oh and by the way, he’s only 2!


When he was about 14 months old, I noticed some red flags in his behavior. I made a list of the behaviors and scheduled an evaluation. 

  • No eye contact
  • Tantrums
  • No functional play
  • No speech
  • Sensitivity to sounds
  • Sensitivity to textures
  • Waking all night screaming
  • Poor appetite
  • Emotionally unstable 


At the end of his evaluation, I was told he possibly could be autistic and my stomach dropped. Not from fear of what others would think of me but of the struggles he would have to face. I had been a helper in high school for a kid that was autistic and I had seen first hand the challenges. 

We discussed the options and agreed to start therapy to see if he would make improvements. So within a few weeks I got a call and they explained how therapy would work. 

Monday through Friday for two hours each day and these sessions would be at home since he was so young. He would also do occupational therapy for 1 hour a week at a clinic. 

When we first started therapy, in December, I was skeptical because he had a major stranger danger attitude and hated new people – especially if they were wanting him to do something. So he would throw tantrums for the whole 2 hour session. 

​​
Today, he fusses at the start for about 5 minutes but now works during session and has made bounds in improvements!

Now he makes eye contact, does functional play, stabilized his emotions and no more middle of the night waking. He is better with his sensory issues due to his occupational therapy. He is also trying to talk now by saying syllables and a few words here and there. 

A re-evaluation of his behavior shows little to no autism but a developmental delay only. I can keep working with him and therapy to get him up to par. 


Now, anytime I feel like something is impossible, I just look at my own little miracle cuddled next to me. If he can make efforts and improvements like that at only 2 years old then I think I can do anything. The power of a child’s determination, perseverance and strength motivate and inspire me to be the best I can be for my own children. 


Let me know what inspires you to be the best version of yourself! 😘