5 Benefits of Early Intervention for Autism

Discovering that your child has been diagnosed with autism can be an incredibly challenging and emotional experience for parents and caregivers. It can make you feel uncertain, overwhelmed, and worried about what to do next.

It’s important to know that early detection and intervention can not only make a significant difference in your child’s development — but also offer a sense of reassurance and ease for you as a parent.

What Is Early Intervention?

“Early intervention” for children with autism refers to the process of identifying and addressing developmental domains — including social, communication, and behavioral skills — as early as possible in a child’s life. It involves providing specialized support, therapies, and services designed to meet the unique needs of each child with autism.

The age range for early intervention is most effective when started as early as possible, ideally before the age of 3. Research has shown that the earlier a child with autism receives intervention, the better their outcomes are likely to be in terms of improved skills, reduced behaviors that interfere with development and learning, and overall quality of life.

The positive impact of early intervention for children with autism is undeniable. It paves the way for their growth and progress.

Here are five compelling reasons why embracing early intervention can put your mind at ease and set your child on a path toward fulfilling their potential:

1. Early Intervention Can Improve Your Child’s Socialization Skills

Children with autism often struggle with social interaction and communication, which can lead to isolation and difficulties in making friends. Early intervention can help children develop socialization skills by providing opportunities for them to interact with others in a structured and supportive environment. This can include teaching them how to initiate conversations, understand social cues, and form friendships.

2. Early Intervention Helps Improve Your Child’s Communication Skills

Many children with autism struggle with communication — whether it’s speaking, processing language, or using non-verbal cues. Early intervention through applied behavior analysis (ABA) can help children express themselves and better understand others, which can lead to improved socialization and overall quality of life.

3. Early Intervention Helps Your Child Learn Appropriate Behaviors

Sometimes life with autism can be challenging. There can be a fair share of meltdowns and tantrums. Early intervention through ABA addresses these often difficult moments and helps children learn appropriate behaviors and how to strengthen ways to learn and interact with others.

4. Early Intervention Sets Your Child Up for Academic Success

Children with autism can struggle academically, which can lead to frustration and low self-esteem. With the help of early intervention, though, children and families can prepare for future academic success. During early intervention, young learners develop social and communication skills that will benefit them not only in their daily lives but also in the classroom once they enroll in school.

5. Early Intervention Can Improve Family Dynamics

Autism can be challenging not just for the child, but for your entire family. Early intervention supports your family by providing resources and tools to help you better understand and support your child. It can also help reduce stress and improve overall family dynamics between you and your child, as well as your child and their siblings.

These are just a few of the many reasons why early intervention for kids with autism is beneficial. By starting treatment early, children with autism can develop the skills and abilities they need to lead fulfilling and successful lives.

Jocelyn Thompson, LCSW, BCBA, is the vice president of clinical services at LEARN Behavioral. During undergrad, she studied under the direction of Dr. Ivar Lovaas and completed an internship at the Lovaas Institute for Early Intervention. Jocelyn has worked with diverse populations as a behavior analyst and social worker for the past 15 years.

For more resources on early intervention, listen to our podcast episode featuring Dr. Geraldine Dawson, co-creator of the Early Start Denver Model, and read our blog on brain plasticity and early intervention written by Ronit Molko, Ph.D., BCBA-D and Dr. Evian Gordon, Chairman and CEO of Brain Resource.

LEARN Behavioral Part of $4.7 Million Grant to Study Autism Intervention

Baltimore, MD — LEARN Behavioral is part of a multimillion-dollar grant to study autism intervention.

The National Institutes of Mental Health awarded the $4.7 million, five-year grant to researchers at the UC Davis MIND Institute (Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders). LEARN was one of two ABA providers selected to help MIND Institute researchers study 300 children who receive therapy.

Researchers will test the effectiveness of the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) of treatment. ESDM is designed for children between the ages of 1 and 4. The innovative model teaches communication and play skills through everyday activities.

“This partnership will help us disseminate best practices amongst clinicians in our field, improve outcomes for kids, and enhance caregiver support and training,” says Jocelyn Thompson, LCSW, BCBA, Vice President of Clinical Services at LEARN Behavioral. “We hope it leads to the best care possible for those with autism and their families.”

The ESDM approach is different from other interventions. It is based on applied behavior analysis (ABA) and child development science. Instead of using traditional structured teaching techniques, ESDM focuses on meaningful interactions. These interactions are based on what the child is interested in. ESDM helps children learn and grow by making interventions feel like natural play.

The study will train behavior analysts in the ESDM approach. These analysts will then train behavior technicians in community agencies. The researchers will create videos called “micro-learnings” to help therapists learn best practices.

The MIND Institute team will train for three months. After that, they will have monthly meetings with agency supervisors. During the study, MIND researchers will observe the ESDM approach and make sure it’s done correctly. The study will record one session per month for each of the 300 children. Researchers will track their progress over a six-month period.

LEARN Behavioral and its partner agencies are committed to providing culturally sensitive care. The training will be available in English and Spanish. LEARN Behavioral aims to offer top intervention services for families with autism.

For more information about LEARN Behavioral and its start in the autism community, click here.

About LEARN Behavioral:

LEARN Behavioral is a leading collective group of ABA providers that nurtures the unique potential in children, teens, and young adults with autism and other disabilities. We provide tailored treatment programs based on contemporary, family-focused applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy. We’re collaborative and innovative, making a positive impact on people’s lives. For more information, visit their services page here.