When a child is initially diagnosed with autism or other common disorders. The first question that comes into the minds of parents is when to start ABA therapy.
One thing is for sure, the earliest a child starts getting therapy, the better. Therefore, starting Chicago ABA therapy immediately following the diagnosis is crucial.
Still have questions. Fret not! This article is going to tell you everything you need to know about ABA therapy and when it is a good time to get ABA therapy for your child. So, let’s begin.
What Age is the Best for Getting ABA Therapy for Your Child?
For parents wanting to know what age is the best for their child to start getting ABA therapy. There will be a variety of answers. However, the intensity and duration of the whole therapy will depend on the child’s condition and needs.
Researchers and experts have proved that early intervention for ABA therapy for children with autism is more effective, but it is never too late to start ABA therapy. Initially, an ABA therapist first assesses each child’s level of understanding and then designs a therapy plan, as well as a learning strategy as well.
ABA therapy is designed in a way to treat Autistic individuals of all ages. It does this by using various effective strategies. But, getting back to early intervention, the sooner children start with the therapy, the better. Mostly, the recommended age is 3 years old. However, most children who are already getting therapy are usually between 2 and 6 years old.
Starting therapy at the age of 2 has numerous benefits. For instance, at this age, ABA therapy can greatly enhance and improve the child’s communication skills, social skills, daily living skills and even control their problematic behaviors.
Moreover, they tend to follow directions and listen to commands more easily at this age too. The child is able to socialize with children of their age better, and can even learn how to carry out simple daily activities. Undesired behaviors can be easily controlled. And good and desired behaviors can be retained, with the help of positive reinforcement of course.
Start ABA therapy
Therefore, the most desired age for any child to start ABA therapy and begin working with the therapist is when the child starts showing symptoms of autism, or other developmental disorders.
This is because, the earlier the therapist is able to treat these symptoms, will help prevent them from getting worse in the future, and the child himself/herself will be able to overcome them as well. Moreover, the child will also be better equipped in becoming a productive learner in the classroom as well.
Even well-known research has shown how early intervention has fruitful benefits and better outcomes. And the overall therapy is more effective as well.
A study by Zalenski, Krantz, and McClannahan in 1985 proved how ABA therapy in 5-year-old children proved to be very effective, as compared to children who started ABA therapy after they turned 5.
Also, several other studies showed that when a child of 2 or 3 years of age started getting therapy, it greatly enhanced their adaptive and cognitive skills.
Therefore, early access to inclusive educational settings in a mainstream classroom is one of the most important long-term gains made by autistic children, or children with other disorders, who received early access to ABA therapy.
Why Start ABA Therapy Early? What Are the Benefits?
Parents of autistic children don’t often think that their child’s deficits are permanent, rather. They think their child will “grow out of it”. Moreover, numerous parents also don’t want others to know about their child getting therapy, mainly due to a prevailing stigma or a label.
But, such negative thoughts and perceptions of parents will have numerous consequences for the child. What they don’t know is that their children’s condition can get worse. And they won’t be able to learn important skills and behaviors if they avoid treatment.
Starting ABA therapy early is highly crucial in order to have the desired outcomes. Starting therapy this early is important for teaching the critical skills needed in the child. As well as in the family, to reduce maladaptive behaviors.
Moreover, early intervention can also teach children the important skills needed to replace those unwanted behaviors. Parents are also able to learn about these behaviors as soon as possible. And will also learn how to respond to/deal with such behaviors.
Remember, ABA therapy is not only focused on the child alone but the parents and other family members too. Thus, early intervention is beneficial for both. Therefore, by learning such behaviors, both family members and the child gain important skills that will enable the child’s needs to be better met.
Experts and professionals have proven how early intervention in ABA therapy can significantly improve challenging behaviors and children’s overall development as well.
Another important benefit of starting early is that a child’s challenging behaviors are addressed early so that they do not have the opportunity to become ingrained with age.
Furthermore, without early intervention, including an individualized and function-based plan. A child’s challenging behaviors can become much worse in terms of duration, frequency, and severity, as they grow up.
This is because positive reinforcement at an early age can, no doubt, strengthen behaviors. If a child is seen to be constantly engaging in challenging behaviors. That too without a behavior plan, those challenging behaviors may be accidentally reinforced, thus, resulting in worsening conditions over time.
Thus, early intervention will help provide all the important skills which are necessary to set the child up for long-term success, so that they can achieve their best potential.
The more skills such children are equipped with early on. The more of their social and learning environments will come in handy.
So you see, the earlier you identify changes in your child’s behavior. The better you can address those issues with the help of an ABA program or other behavior-improvement therapies.