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How Do You Know If Your Child's Autism Therapy Is Working?
Submitted by Jenna on Mon, 09/20/2010 - 13:47
There is an old saying, “If it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it.” While this might work for some things, it isn’t a wise plan when it comes to therapy for a child with Autism.
Unfortunately, for some parents there is no rhyme or reason to the Autism therapy they employ. They might choose from the newest fad they heard about on television or try a therapy that’s worked for their friends’ child. Who can blame them? They are on a quest for anything that might help their precious children. However, it can be hard to tell whether treatment actually helps or not.
Parents can’t solely rely on their memory in determining if their child’s behavior is improving or if they are gaining new skills. Children deserve the most effective and targeted plan possible, and the only way to know if a child’s Autism therapy is actually working is one simple word: data.
Collecting data on behavior is the only way to truly see whether adaptive behavior is increasing and challenging behavior is decreasing. Any other method is too easily skewed by bias, perception or error. It’s important that your service provider graph the data as well, to give a visual regarding progress over time. It’s a necessary piece in helping therapists to create and modify intervention plans, which should be tailored to each child and change with them as they mature. Additionally, it can serve as a valuable record over the years when tracking a child’s progress.
Here’s a red flag. If your therapist or child’s teacher doesn’t collect data on his/her behavior, how will you know if the their procedures are effective? Even if it seems like behavior is improving, you won’t know for sure if you don’t have data. Continuing a treatment or procedure that’s not working could prevent your child from receiving effective treatments and waste your valuable time and money.
Stop therapies that don’t work. Therapy that seems to work but takes no objective measures can only sidetrack your child’s progress. Every moment counts! Please don’t waste time and effort on treatment that simply seems to work or even feels right if it is not backed up data.
If you start your child on a new diet, data should be taken. If you begin a new procedure to handle tantrums, data should be taken. Data doesn’t have to be scary. Ask your service provider for more information to make it work for your lifestyle. If they don’t do it already, it might be a red flag. Take data yourself if you’re not sure about a certain procedure’s efficacy, and if it’s working, then you’ll see the the numbers improve. Data collection should be a regular part of your life and will help your child progress as fast as possible.