Types of Autism Therapy to consider when choosing the best intervention for your child
Updated: Oct 15
Receiving an autism diagnosis for your child can be overwhelming and confusing and getting the diagnosis is only just the beginning. After a diagnosis, looking at autism treatment options would be the next step in the process. Over the years, there has been an extensive amount of research on autism, and although there is no cure for it, parents can look into many different therapy options depending on their child’s specific developmental needs.
Early intervention is crucial in autism treatment as research has suggested that, the earlier the child starts intervention, the more positive results you will reap from it. When deciding on the best treatment or therapy for your child with autism, you should keep in mind that every child is different and there is no "one-size-fits-all" approach. A treatment plan that has worked on another child, might not work for your child or vice vera since autism is a spectrum disorder and it looks different in every person who has it. Therefore, when choosing a treatment option for your child, your doctor may suggest any of these therapies or a combination of them to help your child manage the symptoms of autism more effectively.
Behavioral Therapy (ABA-VB)
Children with autism exhibit many challenging behaviors which can be difficult to manage. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a highly researched therapy and known to be effective as a behavioral intervention for autism with years of extensive evidence to support it. ABA is a type of behavior therapy for autism that is known to have a better success rate when a child receives it in earlier in their development. ABA can help improve social, communication, and learning skills through the use of positive reinforcement. It can also teach a child effective ways of dealing with their emotions and effective ways to communicate their needs. ABA focuses on a child's motivation and sees behavior as a form of communication that needs to be dug deeper into to understand the underlying cause of challenging and maladaptive behaviors. ABA Therapy Singapore parents have reported that their child improved in different areas within a few months of therapy. ABA is a great therapy choice as it is a holistic approach to therapy and also focuses on components in speech and occupational therapy. ABA also has a subcomponent called the Verbal Behavior Approach (VB) that focuses specifically on the child's communication skills. Engaging a private Behavioral Therapist in Singapore costs about $70-$100 per hour.
Parents of young children with autism often report delayed speech as their first concern or the first noticeable signs of autism in toddlers - however speech delays are not a definite sign of autism all the time and should be assessed carefully. So, it’s not just about whether your child is talking or not, but you also need to look at things like play and imitation skills, and whether or not your child understands language. Speech therapy can help your child address a variety of communication-related issues such as articulation, echolalia, working on sentence formation, and using language in social and play skills. Sessions usually focus on getting the child to understand verbal directions, learning how to respond to social cues, asking and answering questions, or taking turns in play and in a conversation. Engaging a private Speech and Language Pathologist in Singapore can cost anywhere from $140-$180 per hour but is known to be an effective intervention option.
Occupational therapy aims at helping your child with daily living skills and self-care skills that enable them to become more independent over time. Sessions typically focus on daily skills, such as eating, getting dressed, or on fine and gross motor skills, such as holding a pencil with a proper grip or developing body coordination to learn skills such as walking, jumping, climbing etc. It even focuses on the child's sensory issues that may be interfering with their learning, behaviour and communication skills so as to help them cope better. This leads us to the next treatment option available; Sensory Integration Therapy.
Sensory-Integration Therapy typically comes under Occupational Therapy. However, it could be a great addition to any therapy your child undergoes with just some simple and fun activities such as arts and craft, or any activity that stimulates their senses. It is an integral component of therapy that has been known to add value to a child's intervention as it allows them to process sounds, light, smells, textures in a calm and anxiety-free manner. Many children with autism have troubles with different stimuli in their environment. Therefore, it is an effective therapy to help expose them to such stimuli in a more fun and positive way so as to gradually build their tolerance and reduce fear and meltdowns associated with it.
The bottom line
Although there currently is no cure for autism, we have seen here that there are a variety of treatment options that can help manage its symptoms. Work with your doctor or work with a consultant to receive autism consultation to figure out the most effective treatment plan for you and your child. Keep in mind that getting the right therapy as early as possible can be truly effective in helping your child to build the skills they need and can even reverse some symptoms of autism.
Here is some additional info on how much you can expect to pay for special needs therapy in Singapore:
ABA Therapy Singapore: $70/hr onwards
Speech Therapy Singapore: $140-$180/hr
Occupational Therapy Singapore: $120- $160/hr