Psychological intervention for children with autism aims to assist not only the child but also the family members. A psychologist helps the child to sort through the innumerable promising treatments and also provide a wide range of psychotherapeutic interventions like floor time with the child and behaviour modification training to reduce the behavioural problems and promote learning.
When should parents consult psychologist for their child?
A child who displays symptoms of autism should consult a psychologist for a clear diagnosis distinguishing them from other developmental disorders. As diagnosing a child with autism becomes very difficult as they do not display any obvious physical problems and their test reports like MRI, BERA and other blood investigations would also be normal. Hence a psychologist would first take a detailed history of the child followed by comprehensive testing to gauge the severity of the disorder. After which based on the information which is gathered a diagnosis is made which is explained to the parents and an intervention plan is designed depending on the child’s needs.
What are the psychological intervention strategies for a child with autism?
Psychological Intervention for a child with autism includes behavioural strategies to reduce undesirable behaviours and promote desirable behaviours and skills like:
Cognitive Training: Children with autism display symptoms like increased hyperactivity, sensory issues and motor mannerisms which hinders the process of learning. Hence cognitive training helps to reduce the reaction time of the child, maximizing the attention and concentration, improving the understanding and awareness about their environment.
Social Skills Training: Children, teens and adults with autism have difficulty interacting with people around, initiating a conversation and maintaining peer relationships. A psychologist would conduct sessions with the child and teach him social skills by using flashcards or role playing. This would help the child improve his social interaction and skills.
Counseling: Individuals with autism experience anxiety, stress, frustration, low self –esteem and may be depression especially in their late adolescence and adult life. They may also have difficulty coping with uncertainties, transitioning, controlling their emotions, etc. For the above listed problems it is important that an individual consults a counselor trained in cognitive and behaviour therapy to help the individual change the way that they think about themselves and other people. Thus leading to a more positive and improved quality of life.